Abendschule - Vergleichendes Sehen. Heute (I)



3 December 09



Vergleichendes Sehen. Heute
Evening Classes - Comparative Visual Analysis. Today
Tue + Thur, 7 – 8.30 pm

Comparative visual analysis entails a dialogical perception and the application of visual thinking. At the beginning of the 20th century Swiss art historian Heinrich Wölfflin pioneered the development of comparative formal analysis in the history of art. For the first time ever, reproductions of artworks were projected side by side using a set of twin parallel projectors. What back then was a revolutionary approach on his part, remains to this day still the most common method in art history, even despite the presence of PowerPoint. With Evening Classes this academic practice is now integrated into the exhibition context, though not without liberating it from its indoctrinating usage and by questioning it as a method. Implicated in this series of events is the invitation for unexpected test arrangements and comparative situations that allow both to support and topple this methodology.

Charlotte Klonk: Sehen im Museum (Seeing in the Museum)
Beatrice von Bismarck: Vorher – Nachher (Before – After)
03.12.2009, 7 pm

Charlotte Klonk: Sehen im Museum (Seeing in the Museum)
Already back in 1976 Brian O'Doherty had exposed the greatest fantasy in relation to the museum of the 20th century: the devout beholder standing in front of a single masterpiece within the sacred white of the deliquescent exhibition space. Despite of increasing figures of visitors and the obligation of producing blockbusters quite a few museum directors still dream of this ideal. An analysis of the 200 years old history of public art exhibitions reveals however that comparative seeing is indeed essential. Yet, which works happen to encounter each other and how these are arranged depends as much on the available time as on unconscious visual habits. It makes much sense to explore these habits because they determine the entire visual experience of visiting a museum at least as much as any consciously pursued dialogue with a single piece of art. (Lecture in German)

Charlotte Klonk has been a lecturer in art history at Humboldt University Berlin since 2006. Beforehand, she first worked as a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Ghent, and later became a research fellow in Oxford and a lecturer at the University of Warwick. In 2005/06 she became a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Institute for Advanced Study Berlin). Her latest book Spaces of Experience: Art Gallery Interiors from 1800 to 2000 (2009) has just been published by Yale University Press.

Beatrice von Bismarck: Vorher – Nachher (Before – After)
The visual movement between to pictures, looking from one to the other, often seems motivated by the desire to bring the subject itself into motion, and—in the modernistic sense—foist a developmental momentum on it. Like it is typical for a “before-after”, whatever is missing becomes foregrounded as the pivotal criterion. What if exactly this missing element hides itself from sight? (Lecture in German)

Beatrice von Bismarck is a professor in art history and visual cultures at Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig (HGB). Between 1989 and 1993 she worked in the 20th Century Department at Städel Museum, Frankfurt/Main. Between 1993 and 1999 she taught at the University of Lüneburg besides co-founding and directing the Kunstraum der Universität Lüneburg. Since 2000 she has been directing the gallery of HGB Leipzig. There she has also co-founded and directed /D/O/C/K. In 2009 she initiated the MA course “Kulturen des Kuratorischen” (Curatorial Cultures).

In the context of the exhibition For the Use of Those Who See 

With kind support by the Ernst Schering Foundation and the Capital Cultural Fund, Berlin.

We cordially thank the Lette Foundation for the seating.