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Summary

The uniqueness of Chinese traditional art and aesthetics is often presented by the popular Chinese saying “art is manifestation of Dao”, which could mean manifestation of truth or authenticity, since Dao 道 in Classical Daoism was understood as authentic being and a source of authenticity. However, the meaning of authenticity/truth (zhen 真 ) in Chinese aesthetics and theories of art seems less discussed, and far more complicated, than the term Dao. This article argues that zhen is no less important for understanding the nature of artistic creativity and expression in Chinese arts and their theories in the historical perspective, and the issue of likeness in art in particular. It demonstrates how this term is related to the evaluation of the work of art, the artist’s expression and self-expression, and his/her relation to the “object” represented in art; in other words, with representation, imagination and morality, which is evident in such compounds as “drawing truthfulness” (xie zhen 写真), and “to create the truth” (chuang zhen 創真). The article deals with the conceptual and historical analysis of the term zhen, aiming to survey the differences and changes of its meaning in theories of painting, literature and “aesthetics of things” (antiquarianism), and to reveal the relations between its philosophical and aesthetic interpretations, especially evident in the Ming dynasty.

Summary

The article deals with the growth of the art collections of the Lithuanian national and municipal museums during WWII, a period traditionally seen as particularly unfavourable for cultural activities. During this period, the dynamics of Lithuanian museum art collections were maintained by two main sources. The first was caused by nationalist politics, or, more precisely, one of its priorities to support Lithuanian art by acquiring artworks from contemporaries. The exception to this strategy is the attention given to the multicultural art scene of Vilnius, partly Jewish, but especially Polish art, which led to the purchase of Polish artists’ works for the Vilnius Municipal Museum and the Vytautas the Great Museum of Culture in Kaunas, which had the status of a national art collection. The second important source was the nationalisation of private property during the Soviet occupation of 1940–1941. This process enabled the Lithuanian museums to enrich their collections with valuable objets d’art first of all, but also with paintings, sculptures and graphic prints. Due to the nationalisation of manor property, the collections of provincial museums, primarily Šiauliai Aušra and Samogitian Museum Alka in Telšiai, significantly increased. The wave of emigration of Lithuanian citizens to the West at the end of the Second World War was also a favourable factor in expanding museum collections, as both artists and owners of their works left a number of valuables to museums as depositors. On the other hand, some museum valuables were transported from Vilnius to Poland in 1945–1948 by the wave of the so-called repatriation of former Vilnius residents who had Polish citizenship in 1930s. The article systematises previously published data and provides new information in order to reconstruct the dynamics of the growth of Lithuanian museum art collections caused by radical political changes, which took place in the mid 20th century.

Summary

Visibility is a capacity to be seen by others directly or through images and can be defined as a total social fact, which includes different domains of collective life. As Italian sociologist Andrea Mubi Brighenti argues, visibility is a form of “visuality at large” and the visible entails more than the visual, more than the sensorially perceptible, which becomes clear when we consider the fact that the visual itself needs to be visibilised, and examine the ways in which this happens. In the last decades visibility in a social sphere and media was largely “capitalised”. According to French sociologist Nathalie Heinich, the visibility capitalis firmly entrenched within Western society, culture and media. Non-material capital of visibility differs from other non-material symbolical or cultural capitals in Bourdieusian sense. This new phenomenon includes all features of classical material capital. The capital of visibility is measurable, accumulated, transmissible, earning interest and convertible. It can be measured by number of fans, showing results in Google search, number of views in YouTube, number of followers in social media Instagram, Facebook or number of images in other mass media.

The cult of celebrity, the aspiration for visibility, and widespread practices of seeing within contemporary visual culture touched on many important social, political, cultural and intellectual spheres. Celebrity culture that arose out of the cinema industry underwent significant transformations, penetrated into existing social structures, fields and institutions. Visibility deeply changes cultural and intellectual life, influences our values and attitudes. The regime of visibility transforms social stratification by creating celebrities as a new social category called media elite. These persons are isolated from their original environment and placed in a context with its own logic and rules. These issues will be analysed using examples from the sphere of creative and cultural industries.

Summary

This article reveals how theatre on small stages functioned in Lithuania during World War II and what was its impact on different audiences. It discusses two topics: 1) specificities of the front theatre intended for German soldiers and their administration; 2) specificities of variety theatre intended to all kinds of audiences. Front theatres in the Third Reich were a well-structured and well-financed organisation that served not only German soldiers and army officials but was an attractive job place for artists. Shows were given in all the occupied territories and thus the morale of the German army was supposed to be maintained. Variety theatres, that is small stage performances, were dedicated to lower class audiences; these shows demanded no intellectual effort and were meant to entertain. Journalists, writing about this type of theatre, avoided to criticise it, because it nevertheless fulfilled its duty to stimulate citizens’ optimism and to make them more loyal to the Nazi government.

Summary

This paper reflects a study in how the Slovenian Performance Art collective the NSK (Neue Slowenische Kunst), and more specifically its sub-group Laibach, functioned as a ‘Memory machine’ in re-enacting historical European trauma in an apparent re-staging of the totalitarian ritual. In this way, Laibach demonstrate history as a contemporary active political agency of Eastern and Central Europe.

Shaped by the break-up of Yugoslavia, the NSK was a multi-disciplinary Gesamtkunstwerk primarily comprising three groups: IRWIN (visual arts), Noordung (theatre), and its most influential delivery system, Laibach (music). Championed by Slavoj Žižek, Laibach are Slovenia’s most famous cultural export, and are widely considered Europe’s most controversial music group. In 2017, Laibach caused further controversy for being the first ‘Western’ group to play North Korea.

With the strategy of Retrogardism, an aesthetic system unique to Eastern European aesthetic praxis, Laibach and the NSK re-mythologised totalitarian iconography associated with Nazi Kunst and Socialist Realism, which contemporary capitalism can only relate to as offensive kitsch.

Summary

The aim of the article is to understand to what extent modern mass housing estates, built in the decades following the Second World War with new construction methods and under the influence of innovative planning ideas and egalitarian philosophy, are currently facing a process of decline. In particular, the research is committed to understand how such innovative urban structures rapidly evolved into stigmatized places of residence and sources of dissonant heritage. The work focuses on the case of San Polo, a neighbourhood of Brescia, in Italy, designed by architect, planner and historian Leonardo Benevolo, who had the opportunity in the northern Italian city to experiment and implement his architectural views in the sphere of “public urbanization”. It is possible to claim that Benevolo’s theoretical approach and architectural practice excellently represented the golden age of modern housing in postwar Europe, when the connection between progressive political views and egalitarian urban planning was apparently perfect. Nevertheless, after the political and economic transition that characterized western Europe since the 1980s, mass housing quickly became a residual issue in the public discourse and entered in a spiral of decline. San Polo was no exception: problems – especially in its iconic tower blocks – soon emerged, and overall optimistic expectations were frustrated by the reality of physical, social and economic decline. This study is therefore committed to understand to what extent San Polo is a case of dissonant heritage in the urban context. While it is clear that the heritage of San Polo is the heritage of a precise historical phase and represents particular ideas in architecture and planning, on the other hand it must be stressed that the ideological transition of recent decades made its values and its messages obsolete and that socio-economic segregation negatively affected the reputation of the neighbourhood and its inhabitants had to face a process of stigmatization that found echo in official and journalistic discourse.

Summary

The article is dedicated to the research of the origins and peculiarity of classical Chinese historiography of fine arts from the broader civilisational perspective. Based on the principles of comparative analysis, the paper reveals the peculiarities of formation of Chinese historiography of fine arts, its attention to the analysis of various methods, styles, schools, directions and different internal and external factors of artistic creativity and development, highlighting its relationship with neo-Confucianist ideology that influenced the rise of “Chinese renaissance”. The article focuses on written work by three most prominent historiographers of the Tang and Song eras, Zhu Jingxuan, Zhang Yanyuan and Guo Ruoxu. The analysis of authentic treatises of historiography first exposes the theoretical peculiarity of the founder of this tradition, Zhu Jingxuan, the principal scope of issues that interested him, and the impact of his research strategies and methods on later scholars. The article follows with the research of Zhang Yanyuan’s and Guo Ruoxu’s theories, particularly their relationship with neo-Confucianist ideology. Based on the detailed comparative analysis of their treatises, the analysis shows the broadening of the field of historiographical issues of interest to them, as well as separation of historiography of fine arts into an individual influential direction of art criticism.

Summary

When the definition of cultural heritage in architecture is questioned regarding the perception of society, the results demonstrate that people identify cultural heritage as both material and spiritual achievements in the past and as a reflection of identity associated with historical monuments. Furthermore, the distinction between monument and cultural heritage does not have a well-distinguished definition for society in most cases. Therefore, the perception of people in the appraisal of cultural heritage consistently obscures the protection process, especially regarding the heritage of the Modern Movement era in architecture which started to be seen in the 20th century. While the experts acknowledge Modern Movement artefacts as cultural heritage, in most cases the perception of non-experts differs. Therefore, its architectural merit is not appreciated by society in the way it deserves, neither as an artefact nor as cultural heritage. By both literature review and performed research, this paper aims to analyse the reasons which create deprecation regarding the evaluation of Modern Movement heritage. Furthermore, it tries to suggest a series of actions which can be taken for achieving the protection of Modern Movement heritage.

Summary

History and memory have been the conceptual core of many Lithuanian photography based contemporary art works as well as international curatorial art projects, including authors from different Baltic countries. On the one hand, this indicates the relevance of the subject related to photography and memory; on the other hand, it also shows the overexploitation of personal and historical memory in contemporary photography and in contemporary art in general.

In this context the article analyses Romualdas Požerskis’ personal album photographs from the years 1971–1975 and his written diaries from the years 1965–1985. The photographs captured Požerskis’ and his friends’ leisure activities, mainly rides on motorcycles across Lithuania and one trip to Tallinn, Estonia. The diary reflects the key historical events of the time, describes Požerskis’ attitude to it and reveals his personal emotional, intimate experiences. The beginning of the seventies was the time when the now famous Lithuanian photographer Požerskis was still a student, who did not consider himself a creative photographer. However, his photographs and diary from this period have been published in a book “Restless Riders” in 2017 putting this visual and written material in between the private and the public, and in between creative photography field and visual history of the country’s past.

The aim of the article is to show how personal photography can help to restore or even create collective memory. To reach this aim the article addresses the respective tasks of explaining the importance of photography’s emotional content in building up a collective memory and revealing how the way in which Požerskis’ personal photo album and private diaries relate to collective memory is distinctive in the context of photography-based Baltic contemporary art.

The article claims that the “Restless Riders” case is different because of its emotional content unmediated by interdisciplinary presentation, art’s conceptual framework or amendments to its visual form. Although it is impossible for the beholder to restore the emotional experience of the author, it is not difficult to let the photographs trigger his or her own memories or imaginary vision of the past. This in turn fills the personal story of photographer with emotion and lets it be seen as part of a liveable historical narrative. This narrative, visualized and made public has the potential to add up to the cultural myth, or in other words, common memory and assumptions, which support the identity of community and nation.