Dr. Susan Whitfield: Trade in the Tarim? Evidence from the Material Culture of the Silk Road

Date: 10 April 2017
Time: 5:00 – 6:30 pm
Venue: Room 4.34 Run Run Shaw Tower

The existence of sustained inter-regional trade in Central Asia in the first millennium is not particularly visible in textual sources and its extent, especially its economic impact, remains largely unexplored. But there are clear manifestations in both the material and textual sources of the interregional movement and development of religions, arts, and technologies in this period. Trade in prestige goods, the so-called Silk Road, involving regular movements of peoples and goods and the creation of surplus wealth, has long been accepted as a significant factor by many although still questioned by some… (Please click on the image to read more)

Ms. Sophia Powers: Performance, Temporality, Feminism and Death: Contemporary Indian Photography through the Lens of Sheba Chhachhi

Date: 27 March 2017
Time: 5:00 – 6:30 pm
Venue: Room 4.34 Run Run Shaw Tower

This talk explores three of the leading Indian contemporary artist Sheba Chhachhi’s earliest photographic projects: images of the anti-dowry women’s protest movement in Delhi, her subsequent series of so-called “staged portraits” of the movement’s protagonists, and her collaboration with members of the sadhu, or female Hindu renunciate community. I examine each project with special attention to the issue of temporality and argue that Chhachhi’s photographic practice both depends upon and powerfully expresses, modes of alternative temporality that are distinct from the journalistic paradigms within which her work first evolved … (Please click on the image to read more)

Dr. Vivian Kuang Sheng: Yin Xiuzhen’s Fabrication of ‘Home’: A Legacy of Domestic ‘Preservation’

Date: 22 March 2017
Time: 5:00 – 6:30 pm
Venue: Room 7.58 Run Run Shaw Tower

This paper considers a series of artworks made by the Chinese artist Yin Xiuzhen since the mid-1990s. The majority of Yin’s works are constructed from intimate and familiar everyday materials, second-hand clothes in particular. Through her creative and manifold acts of placing, sewing, knitting and packing, Yin reveals living stories and human emotions concealed in seemingly trivial and unremarkable household items, investigating the drastic changes to people’s lives in mainland China as well as in other parts of the world over the past two decades, especially in consideration of rapid urbanization and the … (Please click on the image to read more)

Dr. Brianne Cohen: Preventive Publics: The Burning Car in Thomas Hirschhorn’s Installations

Date: 21 March 2017
Time: 5:00 – 6:30 pm
Venue: Room 4.04 Run Run Shaw Tower

This talk unpacks issues of publicity and the public sphere in the oeuvre of Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn, whose practiceh as been controversial for its construction of temporary “cultural centers” in lowerincome, immigrant-populated suburbs in Europe. What are the ethics behind these neighborhood installations? On a most basic level, his socially oriented pieces work to highlight the violence behind signifiers in the mass media such as the burning car clip, a reductive image that has served to stigmatize and incite fears against “foreigners” on the continent. More critically, these installations model and instantiate preventive publics … (Please click on the image to read more)

Dr. Daniella Cecutti: Collecting, Collectors and the Market for Islamic Art from the 19th to the 20th Century

daniella-cecutti-poster-1Date: 24 January 2017
Time: 5:00 – 6:30 pm
Venue: Room 4.04 Run Run Shaw Tower

Daniela Cecutti is a graduate of the University of Udine (Italy), where she studied art history and specialised in non-European art. She obtained her PhD in 2013, after defending her dissertation on collections of Islamic arms and armour, entitled: “Collecting and the market for Islamic Art from the 19th to the 20th Century; Italy and the International context”. She has collaborared with several Italian museums; has published scholarly articles and essay in academic journals and exhibition catalogues, and has published a monograph on the subject of Italian collecting of Islamic art … (Please click on the image to read more)

Mr. Rufus Bird: Mounted Chinese Porcelain in the British Royal Collection

161207-seminar-birdDate: 7 December 2016
Time: 11:00am -12:30pm
Venue: Room 7.58 Run Run Shaw Tower

Moderator: Prof. Thomas

Rufus Bird is the curator in charge of decorative arts in the Royal Collection of Great Britain, with special expertise in mounts and metalwork. He is coming to the Department of Fine Arts to talk especially with students about the history of mounting Chinese porcelain and some of the exquisite porcelains and mounts in the Royal Collection. Professor Thomas will moderate the talk and discussion. (Please click on the image to read more)

Ms. Ruth E. Iskin: Posters as Art and Advertising in the Nineteenth Century

160926 seminar IskinDate: 26 September 2016
Time: 5:00pm
Venue: Room 7.58 Run Run Shaw Tower

During the nineteenth century designers invented a new form of art and advertising, using what was still a new medium –  colour lithography. They developed a new form of communication that relied primarily on images and set a new direction for modern graphic design. This richly illustrated talk features numerous posters from France, England and other European nations as well as the US, that promoted a wide range of products, services, and entertainments, including books, journals, cafe concerts and circuses; contemporary fashions and department stores; cameras, typewriters, and bicycles, and transportation services like the train… (Please click on the image to read more)

Mr. Greg Bryda: The Exuding Wood of the Cross at Isenheim

160421 seminar brydaDate: 21 April 2016
Time: 4:00pm
Venue: Room 4.34 Run Run Shaw Tower

This talk brings to light the late-medieval devotional trope of the exuding wood of the cross, which became popular in fifteenth-century allegories and served as the theological basis for one of the most celebrated but misunderstood ensembles of Gothic Germany: the high altar of the Antonite church at Isenheim sculpted by Nikolaus Haguenauer and painted by Matthias Grünewald. Resins, turpentine, pitch, and other tree exudates formed the basis of medieval medicine and were widely available for physicians as well as artists, who employed their distillates as paint thinner. A thick, viscous bodily humor that was a critical emulsive vehicle for the treatment of skin wounds, resin was also exploited figuratively as a mirror for the sacramental blood Christ shed on the cross… (Please click on the image to read more)

Dr. Letha Ch’ien: Across Time & Space with a Translated Pork-Wrapped Saint: Venetian Sixteenth-Century Narrative Painting and Civic Identity

160418 seminar Chi'enDate: 18 April 2016
Time: 4:00pm
Venue: Room 4.34 Run Run Shaw Tower

A medieval basket containing the pork-wrapped relics of St. Mark holds the key to the beguiling Renaissance painting cycle at the Scuola Grande di San Marco. Venetian painting appears to undergo a fundamental change in the mid-sixteenth century transition from Bellini to Tintoretto with a stylistic rupture that has been called a “caesura.” This paper argues the contrary: the so-called eyewitness generation and later mannerist paintings are in fact united by mode… (Please click on the image to read more)

Ms. Victoria Ehrlich: Between Nature and Culture: Visualising a Mythological Hero in Fifteenth-Century Florence

160414 Ehrlich PosterDate: 14 April 2016
Time: 4:00pm
Venue: Room 4.34 Run Run Shaw Tower

In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle briefly delimits the realm of virtue by setting brutishness in opposition to superhuman virtue. This stark contrast—one that retained moral dimensions in the early modern period—was frequently visualised for fifteenth-century Florentine audiences in depictions of heroes doing battle with monstrous entities. Although such representations place the brutish and the superhumanly virtuous on either end of a spectrum, I argue that these types of figures also mirrored one another in significant ways…  (Please click on the image to read more)