August 31, 2011

Metropolis M review

October 8, 2010

Lectures by Françoise Frontisi-Ducroux and Boyan Manchev

14 Ocober 20.00 hrs, Nina van Leerzaal, Oude Turfmarkt 129 (Allard Pierson Museum/Bijzondere Collecties)
The Elusive Instant of Metamorphosis - Françoise Frontisi-Ducroux (in French with English translation)
In order to understand how the ancient Greeks perceived metamorphosis, we need to consider texts and images. In vase paintings depicting myths of metamorphosis, the very process of transformation is not represented. One might think that this is due to the nature of the still image. Supposedly, only cinema can show us the progression of stages of a change in shape. However, ancient Greeks texts show that the change in category, mostly from human to animal, is simply stated as a sudden event without any transition. Conversely, the Latin poet Ovid describes different stages of metamorphosis from a temporal perspective. This approach reveals a different mode of understanding time and the difficulty the ancient Greeks faced in analysing duration. Besides their peculiar charm, Greek myths of metamorphosis are interesting in their figurative and narrative versions, because they reveal aspects of the ancient Greek categories of the mind and collective imagination.

Francoise Frontisi-Ducroux is an Hellenic expert, Agregee de Lettres Classiques, Docteur d’Etat, and Honorary Deputy Director at the College de France, as well as a team member of ANHIMA (formerly Centre Louis Gernet d’Etudes Comparees sur les Societes Anciennes (EHESS/CNRS)). She is the author of Dedale. Mythologie de l’artisan en Grece ancienne (Paris: Maspero, 1975; new edition, La Decouverte, 2000). La cithare d’Achille (BQUCC, 1, Rome: edizione de l’Ateneo, 1986). Le dieu-masque. Une figure du Dionysos d’Athenes (La Decouverte-Ecole de Rome, coll. “images a l’appui”, 1991). Du masque au visage. Aspects de l’identite en Grece ancienne (Paris: Flammarion, 1995). Dans l’oeil du miroir, with J.-P. Vernant (Paris: Odile Jacob, 1997). Les mysteres du gynecee, with P. Veyne and F. Lissarrague (Paris: Gallimard, 1998). ABCedaire de la Mythologie grecque et romaine (Paris: Flammarion, 2002). L’homme-cerf et la femme araignee (Paris: Gallimard, 2003). Ouvrages de dames, Ariane, Helene, Penelope (Seuil, 2009).

What Does It Mean to Change Change? Towards an Ontology of Metamorphosis - Boyan Manchev

According to what Foucault called an “ontology of actuality”, forms-in-transformation are at the heart of contemporary modes of production and exchange. At present, the social world is no longer a world in transformation, but a world of transformation. Within such a perspective, contemporary art, and especially performance art, play a pioneering role. They foster new forms of metamorphosis, to be appropriated and used as a structural matrix by global, economic circuits. Paradoxically, this process of transformation entails a crisis in the idea of transformationist praxis – we live in a ‘post-transformationist’ world. Thus, today’s crucial question has become one of a transformation of transformation. But what does a transformation of transformation, or a metamorphosis of metamorphosis, mean? Several examples from the field of contemporary art, and – in particular – Deufert & Plischke’s concept of ‘metabolism’, will provide the basis for examining this question.

Boyan Manchev (1970) is a philosopher and cultural theorist, teaching at the New Bulgarian University, as well as Visiting Professor at the Sofia University and the Universitat der Kunste, Berlin. He is a former Programme Director and Vice-President of the International College of Philosophy in Paris. His current research is focused within the fields of ontology, philosophy of art and political philosophy. Recent publications include: L’alteration du monde: Pour une esthetique radicale (Paris: Lignes, 2009); La Metamorphose et l’Instant – Desorganisation de la vie (Paris: La Phocide, 2009); Rue Descartes 64: La metamorphose, edited by B. Manchev (Paris, PUF, 2009); Rue Descartes 67: Quel sujet du politique?, edited by G. Basterra, R. Ivekovic and B. Manchev (Paris, PUF, 2010); The Body-Metamorphosis (Sofia: Altera, 2007).

Lecture by Angel Angelov - Images of Transformation/Disapearance

7 October 2010, 20.00, Nina van Leerzaal, Oude Turfmarkt 129, Allard Pierson Museum/Special Collections

Metamorphosis is a motif that has always invited reflection upon notions of what it is to be human and its changing, metamorphic nature. This motif not only signifies the plasticity of definitions of what it is to be human, but also invites reflection upon its specific temporality. A series of performances and a video installation by Nadezhda Lyahova, in which she uses fluid or transient materials, such as soap bubbles, ice cream and sand, touches upon a distinctly baroque problematic of transience and knowledge, which opens up multiple iconographic associations (homo bulla). Hendrik Goltzius’s etchings and Marcel Duchamp’s Torture-Morte (1959) emerge as two possible interlocutors of Lyahova’s work.
Angel Angelov (1955) is Professor of Theory and History of Culture in the Faculty of Arts at the Neofit Rilski Southwestern University in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. He has taught in the fields of art history, aesthetics, literary theory and visual culture, and has been a visiting researcher at the University of Vienna, the Martin Luther University in Halle, the Getty Institute, the University of Konstanz and the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study. He has published widely in the fields of history and theory of art. He is the author of Historicity of the Visual Image (2008), Telling the Image (editor with Irina Genova, 2003), Afterhistories of Art (editor with Irina Genova, 2001), Concrete Utopias. The projects of Christo (Javachev) (1998).

September 28, 2010

Lecture by Luca Giuliani, 30th of September

30 September, PC Hoofthuis, Spuistraat 134, room 104, at 20:00

Philostratus, Myron and the Art of Discus Throwing - Luca Giuliani
Philostratus is a Greek writer of Rome’s imperial period. A short text of his is characterized by its incomprehensibility. This has a specific cause: Philostratus is referring to a famous statue that he does not name, but knowledge of which he presupposes. This statue is the key to understanding the text. The statue is a work by Myron, a Greek sculptor of the early 5th century B.C. The original was made of bronze and is lost, but several marble copies have survived and allow us to come close to reconstructing the lost original. Only with an image of the statue before our mind’s eye is the text understandable, and vice versa, the text can also contribute to a better understanding of the statue. Is there anything to understand about a statue? My main aim will be to understand with some precision the depicted movement in its concrete sequence. To this purpose, I shall delve a little into ancient (and modern) athletic practice. Having understood the movement of ancient discus throwers, we shall also get a better idea of the problems involved in the depiction of movement in general and of Myrons attempt to solve them.

Luca Giuliani (1950) studied classical archaeology, ethnology and Italian literature in Basel. After being awarded a PhD for his thesis The Archaic Metopes of Selinus in 1975, he worked as a researcher and lecturer at the universities of Basel, Heidelberg and Berlin. He held various positions at the Berliner Antikenmuseum, before becoming its Chief Curator and Acting Director. In 1992, he was appointed to the Chair of Classical Archaeology at the Universityof Freiburg and then briefly at Heidelberg, before moving to Munich. In 2007, he was appointed Rector of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin and Professor of Classical Archaeology at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Professor Giuliani has written a number of books and articles on Greek and Roman art, focusing among other topics on aspects of iconography and narration in Greek art, particularly in relation to depictions
of myth.

September 21, 2010

Interdisciplinary Workshop


Capturing Metamorphosis: Reconsidering Ancient Media in a Post-Medium Condition
Allard Pierson Museum, Institute for Culture and History, University of Amsterdam

Open event | Entrance free | Reservations:
24 September, Nina van Leerzaal, Oude Turfmarkt, 127-129 

09:30 - 10:00 Welcome 
10:00 – 12:30 Panel One           
10:00 – 10:25 Karen Sonik, University of Pennsylvania - Betwixt and Between: Hybridizing the Human in Mesopotamia and Its Minor Arts
10:25 – 10:50 Maria José A. de Abreu, University of Lisbon/Concordia University - Identity, Substitution and the Problem of Origins within Portuguese Modernism
10:50 – 11:05 Break
11:05 – 11:30 Basia Sliwinska, Loughborough University - Metamorphosis of the Sculptured Venus in the ‘Looking-glass’ Reality, Where Everything Seems the Same, Just ‘the the things go the other way’
11:30 – 11:55 Brian Willems, University of Split - Metamorphosis Everyday  
11:55 – 12:30 Discussion
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 15:15 Panel Two
13:30 -  13:55 Maria Teresa Cruz, Universidade Nova de Lisboa - The Cinematic Synthesis (Before and After Cinema). Media History (Before and After Media)
13:55 – 14:20 Winfred van de Put, University of Gent/University of Amsterdam - Time, Clay and Silver
14:20 – 14:45 Sabina Dorneanu, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona - Photography and the Mirror of Nature: Medium Metamorphosis as a Platform for a New Conceptual Flexibility
14:45  - 15:15 Discussion
15:15 – 15:35  Break
15:35 – 17:35 Panel Three
15:35 – 16:00 Mark Titmarsh, University of Technology Sydney - Thinking Morphe and Phusis through the Aesthetics of Expanded Painting
16:00 – 16:25 Babette Hellemans, Utrecht University/Université de Lyon - A Fragmented Memory: Experiences of Time in the Thirteenth-Century Bibles Moralisées
16:25 – 16:40 Break
16:40 – 17:05 Esra Sakir, independent artist - Art History in Artwork
17:05 – 17:35  Discussion
17:35 – 17:55 Closing discussion

September 15, 2010

Lectures by Richard Buxton and Bram Kempers

September 17, 20:00 hrs, Museumcafe, Oude Turfmarkt 129

The Ambiguity of Metamorphosis - Richard Buxton, University of Bristol
Metamorphosis is apparently at its most striking when visualised. But literature too can convey metamorphosis, sometimes in ways unavailable, or not available in the same way, in a visual medium. In particular, literary representations of astonishing change can often be ambiguous and open-ended. Specifically, literary texts sometimes hint at the possibility of a metamorphosis, but leave thoroughly vague whether or not, or how, such a transformation has taken place. Texts ranging from Homer and Ovid to Kafka throw light on these questions.

Richard Buxton (1948) studied at King’s College, Cambridge, and subsequently at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris. Since 1973, he has taught at the University of Bristol, where he has been Professor of Greek Language and Literature since 2005. His main intellectual interests are in ancient Greek literature, especially tragedy, and in Greek mythology. As well as writing numerous articles in various languages, he is the author of several books, including ImaginaryGreece: The Contexts of Mythology (Cambridge, 1994; translated into four languages); The Complete World of Greek Mythology (London, 2004; translated into nine languages), and Forms of Astonishment: Greek Myths of Metamorphosis (Oxford, 2009). Since 2006, he has been President of the Foundation for the Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae. Richard Buxton has participated in many radio broadcasts about the ancient Greek world and has lectured in numerous countries. He is a firm believer in bringing an informed awareness of ancient Greece, and particularly its mythology, to the widest possible public.

Metamorphosis After The Fact: Changing Images and Changing Meanings - Bram Kempers, University of Amsterdam
One of the problematic features in Kempers’ research into works of Renaissance art is the continuous transformation of the interpretations of their meanings. Some of the sculptures by Michelangelo or paintings by Raphael soon acquired new interpretations after they were made. Some of these interpretations influenced reproductions in various graphic arts, so that such metamorphosis had self-perpetuating tendencies – which in some cases still affect research that is being carried out today. In this lecture, these processes of transformation will be highlighted and deconstructed in the light of his current research.

Bram Kempers (1953) studied sociology at the University of Amsterdam, conducted research for the Ministry of Culture, and lectured at the University of Groningen, before becoming Professor of Sociology of Art at the University of Amsterdam. His PhD thesis, Painting, Power and Patronage (1987), was published in Dutch, English, German and French. Kempers has written articles on a very broad range of topics, including the art market, past and present cultural policy, as well as various aspects of art in the Italian Middle Ages and Renaissance. Recently, his research has focused on the artistic life surrounding the Renaissance popes and more contemporary topics, such as art sponsorship, the art market, advertising and graphic design.

September 10, 2010

Lecture by Philippe-Alain Michaud and Round Table Discussion

September 23, 20:00 hrs - Museumcafe, Oude Turfmarkt 129

Metamorphosis as Film - Philippe-Alain Michaud
Metamorphosis is intrinsically related, or nearly synonymous to film.   It is cinematic on at least two levels: the construction scenes that convey a complex narrative can arguably be related to montage, and the visual rendering of the  instantaneity of metamorphosis can be related to special effect.  From the jump cut effects explored by Geroges Melies and his followers   to  Emile Cohl 's Fantasmagorie  (1908) , made only of white line in continous transformation drawn on a black background   to  Bruce Nauman's Pulling Mouth, a selfportrait shot with a high speed camera, cinema develops a generalized system of metamorphosis, which will be analyzed from an anthropological point of view in the light of the ornamental art of the grotesque.

Philippe-Alain Michaud is the curator in charge of the film collection at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. He is the author of Aby Warburg et l'image en movement (Paris, 1998; English version: Aby Warburg and the Image in Motion, New York, 2004), Le peuple des images (Paris, 2002), Sketches. Histoire de l’art, cinema (Paris, 2006). He has curated the exhibitions Comme le rêve, le dessin (Paris, Musée du Louvre-Centre Pompidou, 2002) and Le mouvement des images (Paris, Centre Pompidou, 2006).

Round Table Discussion
Curatorial team and artists: Alena Alexandrova, Martine van Kampen, Vladimir Stissi, James Beckett, Rob Johannesma, Barbara Philipp, Rebecca Sakoun

The ErfgoedLab will be open from 19:00, so you can see the exhibition before the lecture starts. 

For reservations e-mail to:

Free entrance.