Veranstaltung

“Contemporary Anachronisms”: A virtual graduate student conference

presented by the School of Fine Art and Music at the University of Guelph with Dr. Eva Kernbauer as the keynote speaker for “Contemporary Anachronisms”. Dr. Kernbauer is a professor of art history at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria, and is the author of Art, History, and Anachronic Interventions Since 1990 (Routledge 2021).

Anachronism in art presents itself as a co-incidence of persons, objects, events, (or more), from different time periods. Anachronisms are sometimes perceived as anomalies in art, but understanding art anachronistically can enrich historiographical thinking. The discipline of art history is generally understood according to linear chronology. But anachronism is a forceful lens by which the analysis of art refutes comparison and embraces resonances across alternative streams of time. It allows forms, concepts, and materialities to speak across history – linking artworks from different epochs and contexts, yielding unexpected and profound interpretations of art. There are instances of anachronisms in art history that are widely accepted, such as the studies of Michelangelo’s work through Auguste Rodin’s figures. Contemporary anachronisms, however, have become a form of practice in their own right. For instance, German photographer Rebecca Rütten recreates Renaissance still-lives littered with contemporary content, such as fast-food burgers and fries. Contemporary Cree artist Kent Monkman’s history paintings have trans-sequential narratives that situate his own self portrait (and that of his two-spirit alter-ego Miss Chief Eagle Testickle) in the midst of references to canonical works of Western art. Accordingly, this conference considers the possibilities of disrupting and retelling history through contemporary anachronisms.

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