Materialising Modern Identities: Architectural sculpture after 1750 (Session at AAH 2015, UEA, Norwich, 9-11 April 2015)
Paper proposals, to be sent to the session convenor in accordance with proposal guidelines. Paper proposal deadline: 10 November 2014
In recent years, sculpture studies within art and architectural history have grown exponentially, increasingly taking diverse themes into account including materiality, gender, postcolonialism and affect. In the rapid transformations of state power and imperial activity in the 18th century, through into the post-revolutionary political atmosphere of the 19th century, nations appeared to sponsor the celebration of the public citizen and actively projected imperial stability in the midst of change and resistance. Despite its association with permanence, sculpture was charged with representing change: materialising new identities and formulating representational traditions.
Architectural sculpture in particular marked sites of urban modernity, such as stations, cultural institutions, civic landmarks and sacred structures; these large and prestigious commissions often sparked public debate around identity and artistic production. As the onset and outcomes of the First World War shaped the power and politics of cultural memory, sculpture took centre stage, with new responsibilities amongst global tensions. Interwar architectural sculpture negotiated and articulated increasing anxieties regarding ornament, historicism, modernism and minimalism. With the arrival of modernism worldwide, some believed architectural sculpture was anathema. Others looked to it as the vehicle to facilitate and embody vitality in bold new architectural experimentation. Architectural sculpture was a crucible for artistic and wider cultural dialogue concerning modern life and modern subjects.
We invite proposals for papers that explore architectural sculpture and identity in a global context between 1750 and the present. Potential themes include: collaboration and networks between architects and sculptors; materiality, production and reproduction; modernism and tradition; beauty and ugliness; figuration and abstraction; style and historicism; form, function and ornament; spectacle and the everyday; memory and ritual; nationhood and transnationalism; and empire and its afterlives.