‘Possibilities of Exchange: Experiments in Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art’

May 13th-14th
Edinburgh College of Art and the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh

Throughout the twentieth century, Latin American artists pioneered re-inventions and re conceptualisations of the ‘art object’, creating kinetic, super-sensorial and participatory works. By activating novel cognitive and sensorial perceptions and responses, the practices of artists such as Hélio Oiticica, Carlos Cruz-Diez and Lygia Clark demanded new relationships with the spectator and the surrounding space. Many of these artists travelled and worked internationally, with the result that their experiments were often conducted from transnational perspectives, and are vital to wider understandings of artistic developments in the modern and contemporary period. Coinciding with The Fruitmarket Gallery exhibition ‘Possibilities of the Object: Experiments in Brazilian Art 1959 – 1979’, this conference seeks to develop a broader understanding of the shifts that have occurred among Latin American artistic practices since the 1950s and into the present. From novel categorisations of the object such as ‘active-object’, ‘graphic-object’, ‘relational- object’, ‘trans-object’, ‘non-object’, ‘poem-object’, graphic-object’, to the dispersal of ‘objects’ in experimental kinetic, performance and installation works, and their transformation through mail art, text pieces and conceptual networks, we hope to trace the possibilities and politics of exchange and interaction set in motion during this period, and their ramifications for the contemporary moment. Such connections afford viewpoints that cut across national and geographic boundaries, shedding new light on collaboration among artists from different countries within Latin America, and transnationally.

Possible paper themes include, but are by no means limited to:
• (Re)conceptualisations of the ‘object’
• Materialisation vs. Dematerialization
• Artistic exchange, collaboration and networks
• Transnationalism
• Interdisciplinary experimentation
• Kineticism and super-sensorial works
• Artworks as gifts and / or games
• Curatorial and display strategies

Confirmed keynote speaker: Professor Sérgio Bruno Martins (PUC-RJ, Pontíficia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro).
Invited speakers: Dr. Michael Asbury (University of the Arts of London), Dr. Isobel Whitelegg (Liverpool John Moores University), artist Rachel Adams.

Abstracts of 300 words, together with a short (max 100 words) biography should be sent to Lara Demori (s1271395@sms.ed.ac.uk) by February 20th 2015. Possibilities of the Object, curated by Paulo Venancio Filho, will run at The Fruitmarket between 6 March and 25 May 2015. Possibilities of Exchange will consist of a workshop, gallery tour and panel discussion on May 13th, followed by a one-day conference on May 14th: the project is supported by the Edinburgh College of Art and the Society for Latin American Studies. Bursaries will be available for speakers’ travel costs within UK.

Please email Lara Demori with any queries about the conference or application process.


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