Appel à communication : « Creating Nothing New: Perspectives on the Faithful Copy 1300-1900 (Hanover 2014) »

Leonardo_da_Vinci_Virgin_of_the_Rocks_(National_Gallery_London)Call for Papers:
Creating Nothing New: Perspectives on the Faithful Copy 1300-1900
Hanover, Schloss Herrenhausen, 26-28 June 2014
Deadline: 20 January 2014

Up until a few years ago art history showed little interest in the phenomenon of copies:  Versions” of “art works” that were closely related in terms of form and content were mostly dealt with in footnotes and could be found in the storage rooms of museums or as second-rate exhibits. However, the last years have seen a “renaissance of the copy”. Inspired by media theory and the transformation theories of social and cultural history the copy phenomenon has been pulled from the shadows and partially illuminated, using labels such as citation, variation, transfer medium and multiple.

Yet interestingly, the primary focus still seems to lie on the characteristics that make a copy different from the alleged “original” and thus “new”. But this emphasis on innovative and individual achievements in the process of repetition, as well as on claims of originality and authorship, means that the object of study is still being measured against something it is not inherently meant to be. The conscious approximation of a painted, drawn, printed or sculpted prototype (be it in a different or in the same medium) is thus rarely targeted. Only the realization that artistic freedom and creative autonomy are not sufficient as criteria for the aesthetic and art historical evaluation of faithful copies can lead to an appreciation of their very own qualities.

Therefore the conference aims to focus impartially on the constitutive characteristics of the faithful copy, such as similarity, exactitude and dependence. These shall be liberated from their possible negative connotations and instead analyzed as measures of quality. In addition, their discussion should provoke a fresh sight on faithful copies and help to develop ideas for their future presentation and treatment in the museum context as well as in academic research.

Possible topics may include:

  • historical concepts of truthfulness and similarity, for example in art theory
  • the faithful copy in museum practice and conservation
  • the function of faithful copies in the process of artistic creation and apprenticeship
  • faithful copies functioning as substitutes
  • faithful copies for purposes of propaganda and ostentatious reference
  • the reception of faithful images from a psychological perspective
  • the faithful copy as a gender-related concept
  • the faithful copy in relation to copyright issues
  • the faithful copy in media theory
  • faithful copies of cult images in cultural anthropology

We welcome short proposals (up to 1800 characters) for 25 minute presentations from (junior) researchers to until January 20th 2014.

Antonia Putzger, M.A. (TU Berlin)
Marion Heisterberg, M.A. (U Bonn)
Dr. Susanne Müller-Bechtel (TU Dresden)

This conference is funded by VolkswagenStiftung.

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