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Prof. Monika Wagner, University of Hamburg
«Clay and Plaster - History and Function in the Artistic Design Process»

June 18, 2009 Event date: 19.30 to 22.00

The presentation by Monika Wagner addresses the question of why clay and plaster were already assessed in extremely contrary manners during the 19th century and how these assessments continue to have an effect today. In this, it is not only the material properties of the materials that are pivotal but also the different ways in which they are utilized in the process of artistic creation. While clay has a long tradition of being used by sculptors for sculptural models and was highly esteemed as a «malleable primal material», plaster was considered to be an imitative material. Its excellent suitability for molds, which had important functions of their own, caused plaster to become the epitome of a «dead» substance. To what extent artists of the 20th century used and avoided such ascriptions is also under debate.

Monika Wagner has been teaching art history at the University of Hamburg since 1987. The focus of her publication activities since the middle of the 1990s has been on the significance of material in art. With her critical reconstruction of the use of materials and substances and the significance of material, Monika Wagner developed a completely new approach to the understanding of modern art in a monographic exploration «Das Material der Kunst» (The Material of Art) in 2001. She also subsequently published two edited volumes on the research focus of material aesthetics.

Presentation: June 18, 2009, 7:30pm, Material Archive Sitterwerk


Prior to this event, the artists in the Sitterwerk open the doors of their studios starting at 5pm; starting at 6pm there is bratwurst and beer.

Literature in the Art Library