Call for Papers. International Congress: Sculpting the Sculptor

International Congress: Sculpting the Sculptor

30th APRIL 2016. Deadline for abstracts submission


The sculpture trade is certainly one of the most complex among the artistic practices, both regarding the technical specifications of the activity and the nature of the works produced. The sculpture in definitive matter requires a long and progressive process, which besides being usually physically demanding, entails the assumption of risks linked to the execution of the work of art. On top of this, the work of art is fundamentally three-dimensional, and thus must be conceived to occupy the space and dialogue with human beings. Even though that the presence of the public sculpture has declined in recent times, its importance as a cultural and ideological vehicle in the western world has been crucial through the ages.

The Congress SCULPTING THE SCULPTOR addresses the processes by which the sculptor evolves and develops their professional career, from start to end. It also analyses the processes that result in the relative success, among their peers and for the future generations, of both the sculptor and their work. These valuations can present interesting contrasts, be it on their geographical and/or chronological dimensions. The Congress also takes on the evaluation of the resources used by the sculptors to acquire prestige and get ahead, with a particular stress on the voyages made, analysing their motives and consequences; as well as the international projects that derive in transfer processes and hybridizations. Other subjects of the Congress are the work of those sculptors that went into exile in their later years, and the Art as a service to the State. The Congress’ main focus is the comprehension of the mechanisms through which the figure of the sculptor and their reputation is built, and the development of their professional career; a special focus is made on the Catalan sculptors evolving on the frame of the Spanish State during the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Congress SCULPTING THE SCULPTOR supposes the final act of the research project Mapa de los oficios de la escultura, 1775- 1936. Profesión, mercado e instituciones: de Barcelona a Iberoamérica, financed by the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (HAR2013-43715-P). This project was carried out by the research group GRACMON of the Departament de Història de l’Art of the Universitat de Barcelona. In accordance to the methodological approach of the project, which is centered on the trades related to the sculpture in its broadest sense, the Congress also includes the communications of every type of professionals related to the

SESSION 1. The Prestige of the Sculptor

Chairs: Vicenç Furió (Universitat de Barcelona), Nuria Peist (Universitat de Barcelona), Tomas Macsotay (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
Academic Secretary: Vera Renau

We welcome contributions regarding the following subjects:
– Discrepancies or asymmetries in the estimation of sculptors and their works
– Concrete analysis regarding critical reception; processes of recognition endorsement, or failure
– Accounts of professional agents and the mechanisms involved in giving value or worth to sculpture
– Comparative analysis that might take into account different artists or works, but engage the subjects listed here
– Theoretical or methodological proposals applicable to the study of the estimation or reputation of sculptors and their works

SESSION 2. Sculpting Through Plaster Casts

Chairs: Jorge Egea (Universitat de Barcelona), Ann Compton (University of Glasgow)

Topics for discussion could include, though are not limited to:
– The role of casts in artists’ self-education and how this relates to or differs from
the role of casts in structured, institutional approaches to teaching whether in the context of museums or art schools.
– The role of casts in studio practice, and particularly their place in disseminating an artist’s oeuvre.
– The auxiliary or central roles of casts, prints and pictures in the sculptor’s atelier
– The commercial operations and public institutional structures underpinning the
circulation of casts from the late 18th century to the present.

SESSION 3. The trade of the sculptor abroad: voyages and intercultural connection in Europe (c. 1890-1915)

Chairs: Mireia Freixa, Irene Gras, Núria Aragonès (Universitat de Barcelona)
Academic secretary: Natàlia Esquinas

Contributions regarding the following subjects will be appreciated:
– Production and reception of the sculptor’s works made abroad, especially in Rome, Paris and London
– Sculptor’s relationships with the local artist community and institutions, while abroad
– Influences received by the sculptor during their voyages or sojourns and exerted on their return
– Native models or formulas used by the sculptor abroad
– Sculptor’s training in foreign educational centres
– Sojourn and travel scholarships
– Connections and divergences between different sculptural production centres as a result of artistic exchanges
– Itineraries and routes as an artistic rite of passage, the heritage of the “Grand Tour”
– Contributions to international exhibitions and fairs

SESSION 4. Sculpture and dictatorship (1936-1975)

Chairs: Cristina Rodríguez Samaniego y Bernat Puigdollers (Universitat de Barcelona)
Academic Secretary: Ester Barón

Contributions regarding the following subjects will be appreciated:
– Sculpture in Spain from the Civil War to the end of the dictatorship (1936-1975), especially if related to public or religious projects in Catalonia. Mobility and sojourns of the sculptors during this period
– Centres for the exchange and contact between traditional and experimental sculpture
– Sculptors into exile, focusing both on their reception abroad and the transfer of knowledge upon their return to Spain (if applicable). A special interest will be given to contributions regarding the participation of Catalan artists in the creation of plastic art schools abroad
– Specific cases: professional evolution of the sculptors who already worked before the Civil War
– Private collectors and gallerists, museums
– National expositions (e.g: Salón de Otoño) vs. international expositions (e.g: Bienales Hispanoamericanas de Arte). Participation and paradigms

More info in this PDF