Sculpture Today 4: Anti-Monument: Non-traditional Forms of Commemoration
International conference organized by the Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko
14–16 November 2019
The conference is a continuation of the series titled ‘Sculpture Today’ initiated in 2016. So far three editions have taken place devoted, respectively to: the concept of contemporary sculpture, sculpture in the public space, art in landscape and sculpture parks. We have decided to dedicate the next edition to monuments and anti-monuments. The curators of the conference, co-creating the programme of the Orońsko conferences from the first edition of ‘Sculpture Today’, are Eulalia Domanowska, Director of the Centre of Polish Sculpture, and Marta Smolińska, Professor of the University of the Arts in Poznan.
Robert Musil wrote: ‘In the case of monuments, what stands out most is the fact that you don’t notice them. There is nothing else in the world as invisible as monuments […]’. James E. Young, the originator of the term anti-monument believes that traditional monuments do not remind about the commemorated events, but quite the contrary – under the form of an objectified myth and simple explanations, they eliminate an in-depth understanding of history. In this way monuments relieve memory, becoming an object of transferring responsibility, and constitute not a form giving memory an impulse, but one leading to its abandoning and as a result – to oblivion. Since the mid 80s the form of a critical monument has been developing, whose major representative and theoretician is Jochen Gerz. It is in relation to the analysis of his work that James E Young came forward with the term anti-monument. The anti-monument often uses invisibility, negative space, it tends to be nomadic and processual, inviting the audience to interaction.
In Poland anti-monuments are still rare. We keep suffering from statue-mania and we cherish traditional monument forms. The next edition of the conference Sculpture Today 4 – Anti-Monument: Non-traditional Forms of Commemoration at the Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko does not aim to bemoan how many bad monuments have been made and are still being created in Poland, but to analyze the most interesting anti-monuments from all over the world and an attempt to point out models dissimilar from those traditional, figurative and full of pathos.
We are going to pose the following questions:
- What forms of commemoration are adequate to the contemporary mentality of the audience living the post-media epoch dominated by virtual reality?
- What anti-monuments are able to commemorate selected events in the times of crises and migration?
- Can an anti-monument function in virtual reality?
- What events tend to be commemorated by anti-monuments?
- Since the days of Jochen Gerz’s first works, has there established a canon of anti-monuments?
- What artists are the most outstanding creators of anti-monuments?
- How does an anti-monument become processual and interactive?
- Anti-monuments and the political and historical context?
- What role does the anti-monument assign to the audience?
- Definitions and different kinds of anti-monuments.
Initial programme of the conference:
Moderation, introduction and summary – Prof. Marta Smolińska, UAP
- Dr Justyna Balisz-Schmelz, Department of History of Art, Warsaw University: Theories of memory medialization and anti-monument
- Dr Patrycja Cembrzyńska: Władysław Hasior’s and Grzegorz Klaman’s monuments
- Ágnes Erőss, Geosciences Doctorate School at the Faculty of Sciences, Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest
- dr Agnieszka Kłos, Mediation of Art Department, The Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław: Memory Spaces of the former Birkenau Camp
- Wojciech Kozłowski, BWA Gallery in Zielona Góra
- dr Katarzyna Krzykawska, Institute of Fine Arts of the Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce
- Alejandro Martin Naranjo, ESPRONCEDA – Center for Art & Culture, Barcelona
- Dr Siri Peyer, Lucerne School of Art and Design, Switzerland: forms of commemoration in Switzerland, tbc
- Æsa Sigurjónsdóttir, Art Museum in Reykjavik, University of Iceland:
Anti-monuments and other forms of commemoration in Iceland
- Dr Miško Šuvaković, University of Art in Belgrade: Anti-monuments in the former Yugoslavia
- Wojciech Szymański, Department of the History of Modern Art and Culture, Warsaw University: Why do we have so many bad monuments despite non-traditional projects proposed in the 1950s among others by Oskar Hansen and Alina Szapocznikow?
- Corinna Tomberger, Freie Universität Berlin: Anti-monument in the light of the culture of memory and the issue of gender
- Dr. hab. Heidemarie Uhl, Institute of Culture Studies and History of the Theatre, Austrian Scientific Academy, member of the Austrian delegation at IHRA. International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.
- Dr Martin Zebracki, Leeds University: Queer Monuments
Section of anti-monument creators:
- Zhanna Kadyrova, artist, Ukraine
- Anne Peschken and Marek Pisarsky (duo Urban Art from Berlin and Myślibórz) – authors of the Wandering Buoy, nomadic, mobile anti-monument, http://www.urbanart-berlin.de/arbeiten,pl/wanderboje,pl.html
- Taave Talve, Dean of the Faculty of Installation and Sculpture, Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn, Estonia: Problem of monuments in Estonia and examples of his own work
Monika Weiss, artist, New York, and associate professor, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Washington University in St Louis
- Julita Dembowska, curator of the Władysław Hasior Gallery. Tatra Museum in Zakopane
- Andrzej Paruzel, artist, author of inter alia Koluszki Project and the Agency of Guides to Art and Culture
- Paweł Sosnowski, Propaganda Gallery: monuments and anti-monuments
- Agnieszka Tarasiuk, curator of The Xawery Dunikowski Museum of Sculpture in Królikarnia, Branch of the National Museum in Warsaw: monuments in the Central and Eastern Europe
- Dr Katarzyna Trzeciak, Department of Contemporary Critique at the Polish Language Studies of Jagiellonian University in Cracow
- Prof. Marek Wasilewski, Faculty of Multimedia Communication, University of the Arts in Poznan: Krzysztof Wodiczko’s Monument Therapy
The conference is accompanied by a post-conference publication.
Eulalia Domanowska, Marta Smolińska