Instant Presence: Representing Art in Photography
An International Symposium in Honor of Josef Sudek
Academic Conference Center, Husova 4a, Prague 1, Czech Republic
1–2 December, 2016
The 120th birthday anniversary of Josef Sudek (1896–1976), one of the most important figures in the history of Czech photography, provides an opportunity to discuss a lesser known but substantial part of his oeuvre: Sudek’s photographs of art works which ranged from drawings, paintings and sculpture to architecture and the applied arts. Furthermore, this symposium offers an occasion for international academics and curators to examine questions of photographic reproductions of art in general, explore problems of intersections between photography and art, theoretical or aesthetical aspects of interpretation, as well as investigate methodological strategies analyzing the role photographic reproductions of art played shaping the discipline of Art History.
Some questions on which the symposium invites discussion include: How has photography and its ability to preserve an “instant presence” conditioned the understanding, teaching and researching of art history and visual culture? How has the invention of photography transformed our perception of artworks? How should we approach the concept of authorship, particularly regarding the scientific processing of archival material? What are the historical, theoretical, aesthetic, pedagogical and political implications of the photographer’s subjectivity? Is there any sense in attempting to draw the line between an artwork and a commissioned work or should we, on the contrary, search for possible parallels? What, in this respect, makes Josef Sudek unique?
The symposium is organized by the Institute of History of Art of the Czech Academy of Sciences as part of the project “Josef Sudek and Photographic Documentation of Works of Art: From a Private Art Archive to Representing a Cultural Heritage” (2016–2020) supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic within the applied program “NAKI II” (DG16P02M002).