[Appel à communications] Photography as Art – Why Jeff Wall Matters Today (Mannheim, 25-26 Jul 18)
Date : 25 et 26 juillet 2018
Lieu : Kunsthalle Mannheim, Friedrichsplatz 4, 68165 Mannheim
Date limite d’envoi : 30 avril 2018
Photography as Art – Why Jeff Wall Matters Today
Kunsthalle Mannheim and Mudam-Luxembourg Musée d’Art Moderne Gran-Duc Jean cooperate for the exhibition „Appearance“ (2.6.-9.9.2018) with works by Canadian Photographer Jeff Wall. It will be the first special exhibition in the Kunsthalle Mannheim’s new building. The photo exhibition opens up a new perspective of art history in the context of the museum’s collection.
Jeff Wall is one of the major figures in the contemporary art world and he has influenced both the history of visual art and the meaning of photography as art since his first exhibition of photographs in 1978. The art historian Michael Fried has recently pointed out the relevance of Jeff Wall’s oeuvre in “Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before” (2008) when he mentions Wall’s influence on his theory. Throughout the reception of Wall’s work, Fried emphasizes the aspect of the large size tableau photographs that adapt the principle of History Painting and the technique of photographic mise-en-scène. Furthermore, he refers to Wall’s „neo-realism“ as an essential narrative element within the artist’s two different styles such as in “cinematography” and “near documentary”, as well as Wall’s depiction of iconic works from art history like those by Edouard Manet.
The artist himself has commented – and, to a certain degree, controlled – the development and reception of his work from the beginning through his art critical essays on the work of contemporary artists, interviews given to critics and art historians, and personal statement texts. This aspect is regularly stressed to reveal Wall’s important post-conceptual position in the art scene of the 1970s. It also pays attention to the fact that photography has always been challenged to proof its legitimation as a form of art – more than other disciplines in the visual arts.
Like hardly any other artist, Jeff Wall has managed his inscription into the history of art, which is why his work is based on iconological and dialectic discourse through both images and texts. Within the art system, Wall has provoked an ongoing discussion about photography as art. From today’s point of view, this leads to the question how Wall’s work influenced contemporary art? Within the context of Jeff Wall’s exhibition in the new Kunsthalle Mannheim, our conference will take up this reciprocal discourse and relate it to recent research on the young history of photography.
The conference invites contributions to discuss the subsequent questions:
– What relevance does Jeff Wall really have within contemporary photography?
– Size matters – how can Wall’s tableau pictures be revalidated today?
– Which formats and practices determine recent photographic productions (e.g. diorama, lightboxes, prints, screenings, online based works, etc.)?
– Digital or analog photography – which retro look styles are characteristic for photography today (“media nostalgia”), and is there any relation to Wall’s oeuvre?
– What techniques of mise-en-scène and staged pictures can be found in contemporary photography?
– Does self-reference still have a function in contemporary photography (“meta pictures”)?
– Jeff Wall and the others: Which reciprocal influences are of interest in comparison to the work of other artists and photographers?
– Jeff Wall vs. the others: Which delineation of concepts and which unique selling points can be traced regarding his work in the field of photography?
– Image and discourse: How do interviews by Jeff Wall affect the interpretation of his oeuvre?
– Which aspects of art historical references still have been unseen or undisclosed in the reception of Wall’s work?
– Which aspects of political, social and cultural critique matter in Jeff Wall’s work and how can they be compared with his contemporaries?
Prof. Dr. Steffen Siegel, Folkwang University of the Arts, Essen.
In the broader context of the exhibition at Kunsthalle Mannheim, the symposium will gather recent art historical research on photography in relation to the work of Jeff Wall. The call for papers addresses scholars like PhD candidates and Post-Doc researchers whose work focusses on recent tendencies of photography in both present and past. We request contributions on the theory of photography, image science, history of photography, art history, and Visual Culture Studies.
Presentations should not exceed 30 minutes, conference languages are German and English.
Deadline for abstract submissions: April 30th, 2018.
Proposals should comprise max. 2000 characters and contain a short cv.
All submissions will be peer reviewed by a jury committee in May, 2018. Selected and confirmed contributors will receive support for their travel expenses depending on funding (Germany up to € 150; Europe up to € 300; worldwide up to € 600). The Kunsthalle Mannheim will organize accommodation upon registration.