COURTAULD INSTITUTE OF ART, University of London
Towards Contemporary Art: Postmodernism and PostCommunism in Europe and beyond.
MA with Dr Sarah Wilson,
Contemporary art today, in a `globalised' context, has deep historical roots relating back to post-1945 configurations: the division of Europe, the Cold War between superpowers and their satellites, colonial heritages and the epic of decolonialisation. This MA looks towards Europe and post-Soviet Russia, aiming to understand the cultural formation of European postmodernism and its `other': the post-Communist art which began as protest and satire, flourished in the Glasnost period, and is now part of the `global scene'. Patterns of diaspora will be explored (Christo, from Bulgaria to Paris, then New York in the 1960s) together with the relationship between of exile, memory and critical work in for example Ilya Kabakov (working in Moscow, then New York in the 1990s). The `production' of postmodern/postcommunist theory and its relationship to art will be a vital consideration, with a particular look at France as an example (Foucault, Lyotard, Derrida etc). Performance art - where politics impact upon the body - may hav e a special place. The question of a `European memory' which gathers pace towards the millenium, and is exemplified both in the writings of a Maurice Blanchot or the practice of a Jochen Gerz, with his `conceptual' Holocaust or war memorials, will be investigated in the context of the expansion of `Holocaust studies' and museums. Exhibition making will be a major consideration, as spectacle, a generator of discourse, and a form of historical archiving, from Magiciens de la Terre (Paris 1989), After the Wall, Art and culture in Post-Communist Europe, (Stockholm, 1999) to Berlin-Moscow, 1945-2000 (Berlin and Moscow, 2003), Alors la Chine (Paris, 2003). A research trip to a capital city such as Moscow, Prague or Warsaw will form part of the course, along with a short visit to Paris. Courtauld doctoral and post-doctoral students with specialist knowledge will be invited to share their expertise. A working knowledge of at least one foreign language is essential. Original research at thesis level must engage with primary material in the relevant languages and may focus on any period from 1945 to the present.
The October 2005 intake for this new course has been particularly stimulating, including students from Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, Mexico, Hong Kong and USA (Polish-American). Now recruiting for October 2006.
Sarah Wilson is Head of the Modern Department and Reader in the History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, where she directs research stemming fom her new MA, Towards contemporary Art. Postmodernism and postcommunism in Europe and beyond. She was invited Professor at Paris-Sorbonne IV, from 2002-4. She has published extensively on twentieth-century European art, collaborating frequently with the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and is currently preparing The Visual World of French Theory. She has edited and introduced three bilingual volumes juxtaposing French thinkers such as Lyotard, Foucault and Maurice Blanchot with the artists of their times, Jacques Monory, Gerard Fromanger and Pierre Klossowski. Special interests include women artists of the 1960s and 1970s and performance. In collaboration with the Whitechapel Art Gallery is preparing the Klossowski retrospective which travels to the Ludwig Musem, Cologne and to the Pompidou in 2007.
For more information consult the Courtauld website,