DeMATERIALISATIONS in Art and Art-Historical Discourse in the Twentieth Century (Proceedings of a conference held in Tomaszowice on 14–16 May 2017)

Edited by Wojciech Bałus and Magdalena Kunińska

  • Cracow 2018
  • 257 x 200 mm, laminated hardback
  • 240 pages, with illustrations in colour and b&w
  • ISBN 978-83-89831-33-0

Fifty years after the appearance of Lucy Lippard and John Chandler’s famous article ‘The Dematerialization of Art’, which tried to evaluate the changes that were taking place in art in the 1960s – changes that were described by the authors as the gradual disappearance of the material basis of works of art, thus leading to ultra-conceptualism – we put forth this volume of studies which make critical reference to the concept of dematerialisation. This book is the result of a conference that was held at the Cracow Conference Centre at Tomaszowice Manor from 14 to 16 May 2017. Co-organised by the Institute of Art History at the Jagiellonian University and the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow, the conference was titled DeMATERIALISATIONS in Art and Art-Historical Discourse in the Twentieth Century.

By setting apart or, in a way, putting aside the prefix ‘de’ and separating it from ‘materialisation’, we hoped to create a motive that would spur the authors to analyse various artistic phenomena – from the reduction of the material basis of works of art to a consideration of the concept of matter itself and the ways in which it can be expressed in the most ‘appropriate’ manner. The second part of the conference title referred to the problems faced by art history when it comes to expressing the extra-material contents of works of art and to developing an appropriate methodology for investigating works that elude formal analysis.

(From the introduction)

Cover photo: Andrzej Wróblewski, The Emotional Content of the Revolution, 1948, Poznań, National Museum. Photo: © The Andrzej Wróblewski Foundation


Fifty Years Later: DeMATERIALISATIONS in Art and Art‑Historical
Discourse in the Twentieth Century

Wojciech Bałus
Introductory Remarks on Dematerialisation

David Summers
Material Unbound

Hans Christian Hönes
Six Years Later: Writing Prehistory

Wiktoria Kozioł
The Conception of Materiality Presented at the Exhibition
of Modern Art (1948). Regarding the Topic of the ‘Heightened’
Realism of Modern Art

Jan Piotr Cieślak
Procedures of Radical Materiality

Bożena Shallcross
Kantor – Herbert – Vostell: On the Material Language of Destruction

Eric C.H. De Bruyn
Vanishing Acts: Notes on a Genealogy of Dematerialisation

Sebastian Egenhofer
Between Fetish and Hardware: The Dialectic of Site‑Specificity
in Sam Lewitt’s More Heat than Light

Krzysztof Moraczewski
The Dematerialisation of Music: From Ontology to Cultural Theory

Magdalena Kunińska
Memory as Matter. The Art Historical Approach to the Endurance
of Iconographic Motifs – Beyond Time, Space (and Style). Forgotten Studies
on Jewish Art by Zofia Ameisenowa

Marta Smolińska
Dematerialisation in the Context of a Counter‑Monument: Horst Hoheisel’s
Radical Concept for the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Filip Lipiński
The Virtual as the ‘Dangerous Supplement’ of Art (History)

Monika Wagner
Dust – Smoke – Soot. ‘Dirty’ Dematerialisations in Contemporary Art

Marcin Kościelniak
Dematerialisation as a Step Beyond Culture. A Case Study

Bogdan Achimescu
Dematerialisation, Rematerialisation, Utopia, Corruption.
A Story about the Fine Arts High School in Timișoara

Authors’ affiliations