Images of History in Contemporary Art

Images of History in Contemporary Art

University of Potsdam

Simon Starling, Black drop (still), 2012. 35 mm film transferred to HD, 27:42 minutes.

October 16, 2023
Images of History in Contemporary Art
Research project and workshop
Narrative constituting in art since the 2000s: October 19–20, workshop
Hamburger Bahnhof—Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart
Invalidenstrasse 50
10557 Berlin

Narrative constituting in art since the 2000s (three case studies)
Present-day narrative patterns and their influence on the arts of today after the end of the “grand narratives” are to be examined. Language is not the only possibility for narration; images, objects and films also narrate. The philosopher Byung-Chul Han attests to a crisis of narrativity, since, from his perspective, narratives are increasingly transforming into forms of consumption, and communicating on social media platforms is being substituted for narrating. Against this backdrop of transformation in the information society and the disappearance of narration, the emphasis is placed in the scope of this workshop on various artistic narrative forms.

The aim of the workshop is to elaborate on the heterogeneous characteristics of artistic storytelling: first, narrating and remembering—how fluid connections result in utopian moments. (I), second, the narrative as a reaction to the unavailability of the world (II) and third, disintegrated conceptual contexts and vibrating referentiality (III). How do artists deal with historical narratives that have been reduced to silence?

Participants: Max Böhner, Marie Egger, Melanie Franke, Byung-Chul Han, Stephan Hauser, Emily Jacir, Gabriele Knapstein, Oliver Krätschmer, Matías Martínez, Catherine Nichols, Helene Romakin, Maya Schweizer, Simon Starling

The research project Images of History in Contemporary Art since the 1990s deals with the field of research of history in art after the end of the Cold War. It thus builds on the tradition of the history painting, which experienced its decline in the 20th century. Nonetheless, since its demise, artists continue to deal with historical events from the past and present in their works—the history painting has been replaced by images of history that need to be defined more precisely. The research project aims to show, on the one hand, how what used to be a highly ideological genre has been transformed against the backdrop of the dawn of a new era since the 1990s and in the course of changes in contemporary history, visual and historical science studies, as well as by expanding various artistic media. What intermedial relationships artists deploy in their works is, on the other hand, linked to the question of the historical events on which they are constructively based. It gives rise to further questions, such as that of the concept of the image of history as a figure of thought for ideas and interpretations of the past, for a society’s memory cultures and its representations in media. 

Concept development for the workshop is by Melanie Franke; it has been organized jointly with the art-historical research group Images of History in Contemporary Art.

Schedule: October 19, 2023, 5–8pm / October 20, 2023, 11am–6pm.

If you are interested in attending the workshop, please register by October 18, 2023 via the e-mail address max.boehner [​at​] to participate. The number of participants is limited.

The workshop on Narrative constituting in art since the 2000s (three case studies) will take place in the scope of the Images of History in Contemporary Art research project, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) in Berne. With the kind support of the Hamburger Bahnhof—Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart, Berlin.

Venue: Hamburger Bahnhof—Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart, Invalidenstrasse 50-51, 10557 Berlin.

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University of Potsdam
October 16, 2023

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