Conceptualism and Materiality. Matters of Art and Politics

Photograph of a spray painted stencil i Lawrence Weiner, A BIT OF MATTER AND A LITTLE BIT MORE, 1976, language and the materials referred to, dimensions variable, New York, The Museum of Modern Art (photo: Ulrich Wilmes). © Lawrence Weiner/ARS, NY and DACS, London 2019. Photo courtesy Ulrich Wilmes

Conference and Book Launch

This conference celebrates the publication of Conceptualism and Materiality: Matters of Art and Politics (ed. by Christian Berger, Brill, 2019). The aim is to underscore the significance of materials and materiality within Anglo-American Conceptual art, as well as conceptualism more broadly. It challenges the notion of conceptualism as an idea-centred, anti-materialist enterprise, and highlights the political implications thereof.

The contributors focus on the importance of material considerations for artists working during the 1960s and 1970s in different parts of the world. In reconsidering conceptualism’s neglected material aspects, this group of international scholars will gather in London to reveal the rich range of artistic inquiries into theoretical and political notions of matter and material. They revise and diversify the account of a decisive moment in the history of twentieth-century art—a reassessment that carries wider implications for the study of art and materiality in general.

The conference is organised by Dr Christian Berger, Research Fellow and Lecturer, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz/Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellow, The Courtauld Institute of Art with the support of Professor David Peters Corbett. The event has been made possible through the generous support of The Centre for American Art and the Research Forum. More information on the book can be found on the publisher’s website.


Thursday, 10 October 2019:

16:00 Registration

16:30 Welcome and Introduction

Prof David Peters Corbett (The Centre for American Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Prof Sarah Wilson (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Christian Berger (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz/The Courtauld Institute of Art)

17:00 Panel I: Materialisation and Dematerialisation (Chair: Jo Applin, The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Kavior Moon (SCI-Arc, Los Angeles)

Itinerant Matter: Michael Asher’s Air Works

Jacob Stewart-Halevy (Tufts University, Medford)

From Declarations to Natural Talk: How Conceptual Artists Learned to Speak 

Response: Luke Skrebowski (University of Manchester)

Roundtable & Discussion

18:25 Break

18:45 Keynote and Book Launch

Alixe Bovey (The Courtauld Institute of Art): Introduction

Christian Berger: Book Presentation

Keynote: Sabeth Buchmann (Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna)

Conceptual Realism

Wine Reception

Friday, 11 October 2019:

9:00 Registration

9:30 Introduction

9:45 Panel II: Other Materialities (Chair: Christian Berger)

Larisa Dryansky (Sorbonne Université, Paris)

Immaterial or Incorporeal? Antimatter and the Dematerialization of Art

Magdalena Moskalewicz (School of the Art Institute of Chicago)

Notation, Aspiration, Science, and Labour in Early Conceptual Art in Poland

Response: Dominic Rahtz (University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury)

Roundtable & Discussion

11:15 Tea & Coffee

11:45 Panel III: Materiality and Communication (Chair: Mara Polgovsky Ezcurra, Birkbeck College)

Niko Vicario (Amherst College)

Synchronizing Lag: The Materiality of Art’s Speed

Zanna Gilbert (Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles)

A Tactile Media: Edgardo Antonio Vigo’s Manual Multiples

12:35 Response: Michael Asbury (Chelsea College of Arts)

Roundtable & Discussion

13.15 Lunch Break

Panel IV: Materials and Affects (Chair: Klara Kemp-Welch, The Courtauld Institute of Art)

14:30 Luiza Nader (Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw)

Affecting Conceptual Art

Response: Keti Chukhrov (University of Wolverhampton)


15:30 Refreshment break

16:00 Yoshiko Shimada (Artist and Independent Researcher, Tokyo)

A Pink Banner to Show to the Nature: Matsuzawa Yutaka’s Conceptualism and the Spiritual

Response: Jelena Stojkovic (Arts University Bournemouth)


17:00 Christian Berger: Closing Remarks

17:15 End

This event has passed.

10 Oct - 11 Oct 2019

Lecture Theatre 1 (first floor), The Courtauld Institute of Art, Vernon Square, Penton Rise, King’s Cross, London, WC1X 9EW