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University of Basel

07 November 2014

Annual eikones conference: What defines form and how does it emerge?

The emergence and concept of form are the topics of this year's annual conference of eikones – NCCR Iconic Criticism. It will be held next week at Schaulager. Experts from Switzerland and abroad will attend the conference – which is open to the public – to discuss the relationships between form and image. Much of the discussion will focus on the works of artists Walid Raad, who will be in attendance.

The concept of form is currently a flashpoint of discussion in the fine arts and other disciplines such as sociology and literary studies. This interest is fostered in the context of an interdisciplinary debate about the concept of form in modernism, a movement that has left a deep cultural impression since the end of the 18th century. The talks held at the conference will examine the concepts of form and image from historical, theoretical and methodical perspectives in the disciplines of art history, Germanic studies, architecture, film and media theory, philosophy, art theory and aesthetics.

According to Professor Markus Klammer, conference organizer and holder of the Schaulager professorship at the University of Basel, the purpose is firstly to identify the unifying potential of form and image for various disciplines in the humanities. Secondly, the relevance and consequences of current processes in the emergence of form will be demonstrated to interested attendees. “We want to show how theoretical form and practical form become inextricably intertwined with one another.” According to Klammer, the design of certain forms – such as in architecture – has an impact on our daily lives in much the same way as the forms of artworks affect our actual perceptions.

One of the most renowned and discussed contemporary artists, the Lebanese-born Walid Raad (*1967), who works with a diverse range of media, was invited to attend the conference. Raad will speak about his works, which deal with the contemporary events shaped by civil war in his home country and offer a critique of the recent emergence of art collecting in the Gulf states. Raad's works are characterized by their ability to create tension between these aspects and the formalism of modernist art. The eikones annual conference is free and open to the public. Attendees are requested to register in advance.

The emergence and concept of form. Conceptualizing form in modernism. Annual eikones conference - National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) Iconic Criticism, November 12-14, 2014, Schaulager, Ruchfeldstrasse 19, Münchenstein.

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