Brazil in Dialogue Conference 2015

Brazil in Dialogue
Museum für Fotografie  Berlin

The seminar “Brazil in Dialogue” aims to share current research on Brazilian art with the public at Freie Universität’s Institute of Art History. Papers will be presented by young researchers who are part of, or connected with, the Institute’s research group “Transcultural Negotiations in the Ambits of Art” (especially the subgroup “World Art and the World of Art – Then and Now”). Papers, commentaries and presentations by internationally renowned experts will enrich the discussions and build awareness for the problems examined. The event addresses epistemological questions from a historical perspective, looking at three key areas: 1. How has documentary material from Brazil and Europe been dealt with in the past, and what kind of fixations and stereotypes have been formed? 2. Which current concepts of transculturalism can be made fruitful for the research on Brazilian art? 3. How does the increasing international importance of Brazilian art since the beginning of the 20th century relate to the academic research done on it? Also included in the seminar’s program is the screening and discussion of films made by, and informing about, Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica.

Organized by Pauline Bachmann, Susanne Neubauer and Andreas Valentin.

Further information on

Audio documentation

Thursday, 21.5.2015

Moritz Wullen (Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) – Opening (mp3, 3 mins.)

Gregor Stemmrich (Berlin) – Introduction (mp3, 11 mins.)

Roger Buergel (Zurich) – And How Does Knowledge Come into Display? A Few Lessons Drawn from Lina Bo Bardi’s Short-Lived Museum of Popular Art in Bahia – Keynote Part 1 (mp3, 23 mins.), Part 2 (mp3, 29 mins.)

Panel I Challenges of Transcultural Practice in Art History

In panel I we do not wish to discuss transcultural theory in general, but to shed light on what it means to position one’s work within a culture-historical framework fed by different cultural aspects and viewpoints. The focus lies primarily on the practical side of art-historical work and on presenting and positioning it within a transculturally oriented field of work. We want to discuss our strategies within this field, how we focus on particular issues, for example, or how we shape specific historical frameworks. The challenge is to understand art-historical work as a practice that could enhance the traditional frame of analysis and synthesis. Working within a transcultural reference system necessitates making our position and perspective transparent because it already defines the way we ask questions and find answers. Can we find possibilities to link historical content with forward-looking techniques and strategies (such as planning, shaping, modelling or projecting), and can we use this to adequately shape our historical and contemporary position? Also: what does “adequate” mean in this context? The input papers will particularly present examples of such an approach in order to examine these questions, which will be the basis for follow-up discussions.

Andreas Valentin – Introduction Panel I (mp3, 4 mins.)

Susanne Neubauer – Questioning the Point of View: Ludwig Grote and Brazil (mp3, 28 mins.)

Pauline Bachmann – Neoconcretismo: Translation of Form – Form of Translation (mp3, 26 mins.)

Response: Susanne Klengel (Berlin) and discussion Panel I: Pauline Bachmann, Susanne Klengel, Susanne Neubauer (mp3, 30 mins.)

Miriam Minak – Introduction to the films by Andreas Valentin (mp3, 3 mins.)

Andreas Valentin – Introduction to the films (mp3, 8 mins.)

Andreas Valentin – Introduction to Marcos Bonisson (mp3, 2 mins.)

Response: Jens Andermann (Zürich), Michael Asbury (London), Andreas Valentin Part 1 (mp3, 27 mins.), Part 2 (mp3, 32 mins.)

Friday, 22.5.2015

Panel II Documentaries in Brazilian Art

Panel II focuses on the question what role the handling of documentary material from Brazil and Europe plays, and what consequences an exchange of such material between researchers and curators can have. What is the effect and the impact of such material for researchers and artists on both cultural regions? And how do current European researchers deal with the fact that Brazilian art and its primary sources are often unavailable? Various concepts are associated with these questions: document, documentality, docu-fiction, authenticity, truth, actuality, reality, authentication, transaction, etc. In two case studies, we want to examine particular historical situations and cultural, as well as social constellations, in which important documents and objects have been relevant. The status of an object is determined by the circumstances it is embedded in. What happens to the material if those conditions change, when it is used in exhibitions in foreign countries, for example, or in different cultural backgrounds? As a consequence, questions about oppression and colonization, prototypes and stereotypes will emerge, but also questions concerning the aesthetic value of the document itself.

Susanne Neubauer – Introduction Panel II (mp3, 5 mins.)

Lena Schaeffler – Art by People Suffering from Mental Illness in Brazil – A Case Study (mp3, 26 mins.)

Miriam Minak – Breaking the Frame: Documents Travel from Schwitters to Oiticica (mp3, 26 mins.)

Response: Sabeth Buchmann (Vienna) (mp3, 26 mins.)

Discussion Panel II: Sabeth Buchmann, Miriam Minak, Lena Schaeffler (mp3, 17 mins.)

Panel III: Brazil in the International Discussion of Post-1945 Art: Contents, Questions and Exposure

Since the 1950s, Brazilian art has proved significant in many ways – nationally, but also, first and foremost, internationally. Galleries, museums, journals and institutions have increasingly focused on Brazilian artistic techniques, generating new theoretical content and historical resources. This has often occurred via exhibitions drawing international attention. In this panel we want to discuss the growing international exposure of Brazilian art and the reorientation and enhancement of the academic research based on it. Through our continuing research we want to address questions like:

– What new contexts arise that have to be recognized in present-day research?

– What new perspectives emerge from the international discussion, as opposed to the regional perspective?

– What new content-related orientations accrue from the international discussion with regard to artistic practice in Brazil?

Pauline Bachmann – Introduction Panel III (mp3, 4 mins.)

Irene Pfeffer – Mira Schendels Work in the Current Dialogue. Reception and Contextualization in Art History and Exhibition Practice (mp3, 19 mins.)

Sarah Poppel – In between Modernities: Internationalization and Abstract Art in Brazil 1930s-1940s (mp3, 29 mins.)

Andreas Valentin – Light and Form: Brazilian and German Photography in the 1950s (mp3, 28 mins.)

Response: Michael Asbury (London) (mp3, 27 mins.)

Discussion Panel III: Michael Asbury, Irene Schaeffler, Sarah Poppel, Andreas Valentin (mp3, 13 mins.)