Transcultural Constructivism: International Contexts of Swiss Konkrete Kunst

Camille Graeser-Lectures 2012

International conference

December 3.-4. December, 2012

University of Zurich, Karl Schmid-Strasse 4, Room KO2-F-152


Why is Concrete Art received, besides Switzerland and Southern Germany, most intensely in Brazil and Eastern Europe? Which were and are the mechanisms of this transcultural exchange? Can an analysis of the history of reception contribute to a more differentiated model of interpretation which goes beyond the traditional categories of style and form and includes criteria related to the history of politics, economy and institutions? The conference intends to explore the histories, the sites and the effects of Concrete Art and raise the question of the significance for this historic movement to the current production and discussion of art.


Monday, December 3

18:15–19:00 Katharina Grosse (artist, Berlin): Opening Lecture

Tuesday, December 4

9:00–9:30 Julia Gelshorn (University of Hamburg): Introduction

Politics of Concrete Forms and Materials

Chair: Timo Niemeyer (University of Zurich)

9:30–10:15 Doris Annette Hartmann (University of Paderborn): Concrete Art in Poland under Communist Rule

10:15–11:00 Christopher Ketcham (Massachusetts Institute of Technology): Disfiguring Architecture: Gutai, Concrete Memory, and the Pacific War

Coffee Break

11:30–12:15 Paula Barreiro-López (Centro de Ciencias Sociales y Humanas, Madrid): Max Bill and his Concrete Legacy in Spain: Geometry, Design and Political Subversion in the 1960s

12:15–13:00 Abigail McEwen (University of Maryland): Cuba’s Concretos: The Constructivist Revolution

Lunch Break

Concrete Art in Brazil – Revisions of a Master-Narrative

Chair: Susanne Neubauer (Zurich and Berlin)

14:00–14:45 Sarah Poppel (Berlin): From Virgin Art to Concrete Art – Early Geometric Abstract Tendencies in Rio de Janeiro

14:45–15:30 Adrian Anagnost (University of Chicago): Peripheral Conversations: Concrete Trajectories from Southeastern Europe to Brazil

15:30–16:15 Pauline Bachmann (Freie Universität Berlin): Brasilian Constructivism in Transcultural Perspective

Coffee Break

16:45–17:30 Aleca Le Blanc (Los Angeles County Museum of Art): Constructivist Forms and Industrial Materials. Brazilian Concrete Art in the 1950s

17:30–18:15 Caroline A. Jones (Massachusetts Institute of Technology): Biting the Hand that Feeds – Anthropophagic Concretismo


Prof. Dr. Julia Gelshorn (University of Hamburg)

Dr. Dora Imhof (ETH Zürich)

Prof. Dr. Philip Ursprung (ETH Zurich)

Prof. Dr. Tristan Weddigen (University of Zurich)