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Early career research symposium

Modern Sculpture, Essence, and Difference: Reflections on the Work of Constantin Brâncuşi

11:00–19:30

The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, UK

Abstract image composed of layered, stone-textured shapes on a green background.

Bringing together new research and creative responses that engage with Brâncuşi’s position in twentieth-century art and culture.

How has the work of Constantin Brâncuşi shaped our perception of modern sculpture? How do social constructions of difference – of class, gender, race, and nationalism – manifest in his work? How has a critical heritage dedicated to understanding Brâncuşi’s pursuit of sculptural ‘essences’ warped and limited scholarly understanding of his oeuvre and its early twentieth-century context? How have notions of alterity, repetition, assimilation, and sequence been explored in responses to his work? What critical frameworks can help us understand Brancusi’s social and imaginative tactics, such as his control of the photographic representation of his work, his self-presentation as Romanian peasant, and his preoccupation with folklore? How can we build on the scholarship of Anna Chave, Alex Potts, John Warne Munroe, and Yaëlle Biro to better situate the full range of signification in Brâncuşi’s work within current movements of cultural history, critical theory, anthropology and philosophy? How can artists practicing today draw from or react against Brâncuşi’s example? What is Brâncuşi ’s continuing relevance to those looking to innovate in sculptural techniques and processes, including working in direct carving, print making, casting. installation, with hand tools, in studios, and domestic spaces?

These are some of the questions that this Early Career Research symposium will seek to answer through a programme of academic papers and creative responses.

The day will culminate with an Artists’ Talk reflecting on Brancusi’s influence today: Lucy Skaer in conversation with Hannah Hughes, chaired by Dr. Rosalind McKever.

The symposium is part of the Henry Moore Foundation’s research season which re-examines Brâncuşi’s work and his reception in Britain, and coincides with the largest exhibition of Brancusi’s work ever organised, due to be held at the Centre Pompidou in 2024.

This event also marks a collaboration between the Henry Moore Foundation and The Courtauld Institute of Art, who are celebrating Moore with the exhibition Henry Moore: Shadows on the Wall, to be staged at The Courtauld Gallery in summer 2024.

Tickets

Tickets to this event are free, and can be booked online via the Courtauld’s website.

Please note that this event takes place at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London.

 

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Programme

The symposium begins at 11:00 at The Courtauld Institute of Art, in Vernon Square, London.

Welcome and Introduction to the day

11:00

Dr Ketty Gottardo, The Courtauld, and Dr Jonathan Vernon, independent art-historian

Panel 1: Brâncuşi and Post-War Sculpture

11:15–13:00
Chaired by Dr Sean Ketteringham, Henry Moore Institute

‘Târgu Jiu: a Prototype for the Post-War Modernist Monument?’
Chiara Pazzaglia, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa/Université Paris Nanterre

‘‘Decentralization’, ‘Disjunctiveness’, and the ‘Unseen’: The Reception of Brâncuşi’s Sculpture in North American Art Criticism Between the 1960s and 1970s’
Valentina Bartalesi, Archivio del Moderno, Balerna, Switzerland

Panel 2: Brâncuşi and Materiality

14:00–15:00
Chaired by Dr Lisa Newby, Henry Moore Foundation

‘‘Sculpture is Nothing but Water’: The Sculptural Object is Transitional and Receptive Body in Constantin Brâncuşi and Ettore Spalletti’s Works’
Stefano Agresti, Fondazione Ettore Spalletti/Università di Roma ‘La Sapienza’

‘Encountering Sculpture as Image’
Ella McCartney, artist/Goldsmiths University

Panel 3: Brâncuşi, Essence and Difference

15:30–17:00
Chaired by Dr Jonathan Vernon

‘Responding to Brâncuşi: Bodily Abstractions and Challenging Verticality’
Lana Locke, artist/Camberwell College of Arts

‘Constantin Brâncuşi After Transgender Studies’
Chase Pendleton, independent

‘Brâncuşi’s Dream of a Flight. The Impossibilities of an Inhibited Form’
Michal Sobanski, Sorbonne Université Paris

Artists in Conversation

17:30–18:30
Introduced by Dr Clare O’Dowd, Henry Moore Institute.

Hannah Hughes and Lucy Skaer

Chaired by Dr Rosalind McKever, Victoria & Albert Museum

Wine reception

18:30

Modern Sculpture, Essence, and Difference: Reflections on the Work of Constantin Brâncuşi
Abstract image composed of layered, stone-textured shapes on a green background.
Part of Brâncuşi and Britain
Part of Brâncuşi and Britain

Early career research symposium

Modern Sculpture, Essence, and Difference: Reflections on the Work of Constantin Brâncuşi

11:00–19:30

Book Now

The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, UK
Hannah Hughes and Lucy Skaer in conversation
Composite image of work by Hannah Hughes and Lucy Skaer. Left: Abstract image composed of layered, stone-textured shapes on a yellow background. Right: Around 20 identical tall, slender black sculptures are clustered together on a wooden gallery floor. Behind them, some abstract prints are hung on the white wall.
Part of Brâncuşi and Britain
Part of Brâncuşi and Britain

Artist in conversation

Hannah Hughes and Lucy Skaer in conversation

The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, UK
Ariane Coulondre and Matthew Gale
Side by side portrait photos of Ariane Coulondre and Matthew Gale.
Part of Brâncuşi and Britain
Part of Brâncuşi and Britain

Curatorial discussion

Ariane Coulondre and Matthew Gale

18:00–19:00

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Online
Brâncuşi, Britain and the Idea of Modern Sculpture
Black and white vintage photo showing three older men stood in a gallery. Hung on the walls behind them are lots of paintings in fancy frames. The men are dressed in suits, two wear hats, and one holds a walking stick. One is smoking a pipe, and the other two are holding cigarettes.
Part of Brâncuşi and Britain
Part of Brâncuşi and Britain

Conference

Brâncuşi, Britain and the Idea of Modern Sculpture

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Studios & Gardens, Hertfordshire

Getting here

This event takes place in Lecture Theatre 2 at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London.

The Courtauld Institute of Art

Vernon Square
Penton Rise
London
WC1X 9EW 

United Kingdom

T:  +44 (0)20 3947 7777
E:  galleryinfo@courtauld.ac.uk