ANU painting postgraduate blog

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From Melinda Hinkson- an interesting opportunity!

Melinda has sent this request for expressions of interest from those of you who would like to attend the workshop planned for Didier Maleuve’s proposed visit in July. Read about his publications below- look very interesting! and get back to Melinda if you would like to be involved.

Dear All,

I’m looking to apply for some funding through the RSH&A to help bring Didier Maleuvre from the US to participate in the Imaging Identity symposium at the National Portrait Gallery in July and to stay on to deliver a seminar and run a workshop/masterclass for postgraduate students at the ANU.

Didier teaches art history and literature at University of California Santa Barbara, and I have pasted below short blurbs on his three books. I’m writing to ask if you think his visit might be of interest to postgraduate students in your area. If so, can you give me an indication of possible numbers? I’d be happy to try and coordinate a workshop sometime in the first week of second semester (the time frame is tied to the symposium which runs the preceding week).

look forward to hearing from you

best wishes, Melinda

On Didier Maleuvre:

Museum Memories: History, Technology, Art (Stanford 1999)

From its inception in the early nineteenth century, the museum has been more than a mere historical object; it has manufactured an image of history. In collecting past artifacts, the museum gives shape and presence to history, defining the space of a ritual encounter with the past. The museum believes in history, yet it behaves as though history could be summarized and completed. By building a monument to the end of history and lifting art out of the turmoil of historical survival, the museum is said to dehistoricize the artwork. It replaces historicity with historiography, and living history turns into timelessness.

This twofold process explains the paradoxical character of museums. They have been accused of being both too heavy with historical dust and too historically spotless, excessively historicizing artworks while cutting them off from the historical life in which artworks are born. Thus the museum seems contradictory because it lectures about the historical nature of its objects while denying the same objects the living historical connection about which it purports to educate.

The contradictory character of museums leads the author to a philosophical reflection on history, one that reconsiders the concept of culture and the historical value of art in light of the philosophers, artists, and writers who are captivated by the museum. Together, their voices prompt a reevaluation of the concepts of historical consciousness, artistic identity, and the culture of objects in the modern period. The author shows how museum culture offers a unique vantage point on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries’ preoccupation with history and subjectivity, and he demonstrates how the constitution of the aesthetic provides insight into the realms of technology, industrial culture, architecture, and ethics.

The Religion of Reality: Inquiry into Self, Art and Transcendence (2006, Catholic University of America Press)

The Religion of Reality takes to task the assumption according to which the modern intellect is devoid of the transcendental. The book first argues that religious feeling persists in the secular western mind; that it has taken refuge in the unlikeliest of camps, with the supposed debunker of religious creed: the rationalist existential ego. The autonomous, individual self is the pillar of modern times – a deity that anchors our morals, politics, and society, and defines what is crucial about human existence. On this score, The Religion of Reality makes two points: first that the philosophic primacy of the self rests on a leap of faith; and second that its religious centrality cannot ultimately satisfy the transcendental thirst that it kindles. The book constructively inquires into the artistic paths that lead away from this anthropocentrism. Art, it is often said, is the religion of the modern secular mind. This study argues that there are good reasons for this status. Taking seriously the age-old connection between art and religion, the book presents just how the spiritual is active in the artistic experience, whether of religious or secular stamp. Artworks are attempts to overcome the limits of expression and knowledge, hence of the human standpoint. The Religion of Reality is not an attempt to resuscitate the religion ofart; rather it is a demonstration of the religious in art.

The Horizon: A History of Our Infinite Longing (University of California Press 2010)

What is a horizon? A line where land meets sky? The end of the world or the beginning of perception? In this brilliant, engaging, and stimulating history, Didier Maleuvre journeys to the outer reaches of human experience and probes philosophy, religion, and art to understand our struggle and fascination with limits—of life, knowledge, existence, and death. Horizons delineate the physical world and give our lives shape, purpose, and meaning; yet history provides a record of humanity’s instinctual urge to transcend boundaries and seek what lies beyond. Maleuvre sweeps us through a vast cultural landscape, enabling us to experience each stopping place as the cusp of a limitless journey, whether he is discussing the works of Picasso, Gothic architecture, Beethoven, or General Relativity. If, as Aristotle said, philosophy begins in wonder, then this remarkable book shows us how wonder—the urge to know beyond the conceivable—is itself the engine of culture.


March 29, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. I would be most interest in the symposium and any workshops that might follow. ria

    Comment by Ria Vlavianos | March 30, 2010 | Reply

  2. alas, I will miss out on this one

    Comment by vanessa | March 30, 2010 | Reply

  3. I will be away all of July unfortunately, Nicky

    Comment by nickyjdickson | March 30, 2010 | Reply

  4. It sounds very interesting – I’d like to be involved in workshops etc (dates permitting).

    Comment by Julie | March 31, 2010 | Reply

  5. Yes, I’d like to support your proposal, Melinda, and attend any workshops planned. Liz C.

    Comment by Liz | April 1, 2010 | Reply

  6. I am extremely interested in both the symposium and workshop proposals Micky

    Comment by mickyallan | April 5, 2010 | Reply

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