Friday 12 and Saturday 13 January 2018, Barber Institute, University of Birmingham
Conference Organisers: Kate Nichols (Birmingham) and Barbara Pezzini (Manchester)
Keynote Speakers: Pamela Fletcher and Tapati Guha Thakurta
Call for Papers Now Open:
In the nineteenth century the circulation of works of art developed into its recognisably modern form. The forces of increasingly globalized capitalism, imperial routes and new means of transport, coupled with the growing reach of advertising and the press caused an unprecedented movement of artists, goods and materials. Larger audiences for art in newly founded museums and galleries across the world also contributed to, and benefitted from, this increased mobility of art.
Nineteenth-century mobility still awaits a thorough art historical investigation. This two-day conference aims to map, examine and problematize this emerging field. What is distinctive about the nineteenth-century circulation of art objects? How does mobility impact upon the modes of art production? Does it engender new subjects and materials? How important is the mobility of art to nineteenth-century art history? What impact does such transnational exchange have on national narratives of art? How are imbalances of power involved and developed through the mobility of art? How do the different networks of mobility – social, commercial and cultural – intersect? Which methodological approaches are best suited to this area of investigation?
The conference will be divided into principal thematic sessions, and we invite paper proposals of case studies or broader analyses that address some aspects of these interlinked beams:
- networks of production
- networks of cultural exchange
- networks of commerce
- networks of reception.
Potential topics may include: Visualising mobility and networks, mobility of people/objects, reproduction, replication and mobility, the ethics of mobility, enforced mobility, the role of art markets, refusal to move, and methodological approaches to mobility.
The conference will coincide with an exhibition dedicated to the works of Birmingham born engraver, miniature portraitist and photographer Thomas Bock (c.1793 – 1855) at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham. In 1823 Bock was found guilty of “administering concoctions of certain herbs … with the intent to cause miscarriage” and was transported to the Australian penal colony of Van Diemens Land, where he was pressed into service as a convict artist. Bock’s artistic output includes portraits of Tasmanian Aborigines, his fellow criminals as well as free settlers in Hobart Town. Many of these images returned to Britain, although Bock himself remained in Australia until his death in 1855. This is the first exhibition dedicated to Bock’s work to be held in Britain. An evening reception will be held at Ikon, with a private view of the exhibition and curatorial reflections on exhibiting the circulation of artists and their work.