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The Twentieth Horst Gerson Lecture

When:Fr 04-10-2019
Where:Academy Building Broerstraat 5 Groningen

The board of the Horst Gerson Lectures Foundation is very pleased to announce that the 20th Horst Gerson Lecture will be delivered by Dr Horst Bredekamp, Professor of Art History at Humboldt University, Berlin.

The Horst Gerson Lecture, entitled 'Art history and prehistoric art: rethinking their relationship in the light of new observations', will take place on 4 October 2019, at 16:30 hrs in the Aula of the University of Groningen.

Introductory lectures, related to the subject of the Horst Gerson Lecture, will be given by Claudy Jongstra, Textile Artist, and Dr Stijn Bussels, Professor of Art History at Leiden University. This preliminary program will start at 14:00 hrs in the auditorium of the Groninger Museum.

The events, including the reception from 17:30-18:30 hrs, are free and open to the public.


Horst Gerson Lecture:

Horst Bredekamp – ‘Art history and prehistoric art: rethinking their relationship in the light of recent observations’

The point, from which we are defining the human ability to design artefacts and use symbolic signs is currently shifting to a more distant past. The insights responsible for this pushing back, are based, for example, on findings of very early human-shaped sculpture in Swabia, on the realization that human sign-making started literally hundred thousand years earlier than previously thought, as well as the realization that even hand-axes could carry symbolic meaning. Taken together, these phenomena call for a redefinition of the anthropos, in which the ability to design plays an eminent role. The lecture aims to show how the capacity to discriminate and creatively employ visual and material difference in the environment was a pre-condition for the development of human kind. Against this background, the question rises, if the fruitful collaboration between the fields of aesthetics, art history, and anthropology, that drove nineteenth century research into the origins of human creativity, can be revived.

Introductory program:

Claudy Jongstra – ‘Radical Craft’

Claudy Jongstra is known worldwide for her monumental murals of felted wool and silk, whose textured surfaces and nuanced tones reflect an innovative use of natural pigments and organic materials. Jongstra will discuss the unique material sources - a flock of indigenous Drenthe Heath sheep and biodynamic agricultural center - as well as the analog making processes behind each of her charismatic artworks. Engaged in collaborative scientific research, Jongstra recontextualizes centuries of art technological knowledge in a contemporary artistic practice.

Stijn Bussels – ‘Bos’ Grotesques as Apotropaic Images’

The Groninger artist Cornelis Bos (c. 1510 - c. 1555) is generally acknowledged as the initiator of a grotesque style dominated by fantastic constructions in scrollwork and strapwork in which amazing creatures are captured. Studying his designs, art historians have not come much further than looking at them as emulations of Italian prints and at Bos’ influence on other, often Antwerp artists. Moreover, they see the designs as mere examples for decorations. With the help of insights from anthropology, this lecture wants to deepen our understanding in Bos’ grotesques. I will rely on the concept of the apotropaic to explore the possibility that the images deal with threads caused by the exotic, the bestial, or the supernatural.