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Durham University

Centre for Visual Arts and Culture

Previous Events

List of months

Tuesday 23 January 2018

The Body Inside-Out. Anatomy, Memory and the Sculpted Innards at the Maubuisson Abbey (1253-1652)

5:30pm to 8:30pm, Palace Green Learning Centre , Jack Hartnell

CVAC and IMEMS are delighted to host Jack Hartnell from the University of East Anglia.

The now-destroyed Abbey of Maubuisson, situated just northwest of Paris, was a religious foundation that over the centuries created a unique visceral visual culture. By charting a long history of the institution from the thirteenth to seventeenth centuries, this paper examines Maubuisson’s bodies -
figures formed of painted wood, marble, gilded copper, and raw preserved flesh - to unearth a long-standing proclivity at the abbey for flipping the human form inside-out, a distinctly anatomical instinct at work across Maubuisson’s medieval and early modern history.

Dr Jack Hartnell is Lecturer in Art History at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, where his research and teaching focus on the visual culture of medieval medicine, mathematics, and cartography. He has previously held fellowships at Columbia University, The Courtauld Institute of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte. His recent publications include articles on surgical instruments and anatomical practice, and a book about to be published by the Wellcome Trust and Profile Books entitled Medieval Bodies (April, 2018).

17:30 - 18:30 Lecture
18:30 - 20:30 Drinks Reception
Booking information avaliable here.

Marginal organs from a copy of Albertus Magnus’ commentary on Aristotle’s De animalibus, fourteenth-century, Paris. (BnF Fr. 16169, fol. 179v)

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Wednesday 31 January 2018

“Photography, Race and Invisibility: The Liberation of Paris, in Black and White”, with Dr. Cécile Bishop

5:00pm to 7:00pm, MLAC Common Room, A56, Elvet Riverside, Dr. Cécile Bishop (NYU)

Although colonial troops formed the majority of Charles de Gaulle’s Free French Army, the photographs of the liberation of Paris in 1944 feature mostly white-looking soldiers. This was no coincidence: France’s allies insisted that Paris should be liberated by white troops only. The absence of blackness is particularly significant because the liberation has been an iconic object of national collective memory since 1945. So far, the response to this erasure has consisted in unearthing alternative images demonstrating the contribution of black soldiers. Despite its obvious rhetorical value, this approach leaves intact the alignment between photographic indexicality and race that presided over the exclusion of blackness. This paper, by contrast, builds on recent reflections concerning photography and the ethics of spectatorship to question the forms of invisibility that are produced not just by leaving things out of the frame, but by race itself. By exploring the formal and aesthetic constructs that sustain the visuality of race, I explore the symbolic work performed by both blackness and whiteness in these photographs. Ultimately, I propose a form of criticism that is both interpretative and performative, in order to reveal not only the role of photographic representations in naturalizing race, but also the way race shapes photographic representations.

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