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36ème Congrès du CIHA - Lyon 2024

Parrainé par le Ministère de la Culture,
le Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche,
le Ministère de l'Europe et des Affaires étrangères

Matter in Motion: Transcultural Material and Symbolic Transformations

Julie Codell 1 , Sabine du Crest 2

Arizona State University - Tempe (United States), 2Université Bordeaux-Montaigne, Pessac (France)

Sujet en anglais / Topic in english

Transcultural exchanges increasingly dominate art historical studies investigating objects through their transformational spatial and temporal travels. While matter appears ineffable and fixed, materials nonetheless embody emotions, kinesthetics, memories, histories, resonances, and skills, making interpretations of surface textures as unstable and indeterminate as are the changing contents and meanings of works that cross borders.

Whether embedded in hybrid things produced by combining cross-cultural materials or images linked through encounters or in histories of the changing valuations of an object that crosses cultures, transculturation underscores contingencies of physical matter—e.g., darkening, patinas--and of content re-interpreted and re-inscribed by another cultures’ histories, social orders and ideologies, e.g., French tapestries sent to a Chinese emperor; Ukiyo-e prints, used as packaging in Japan, enjoying aesthetic value in Europe.

Crossing borders through trade, consumption, diplomacy, collecting, exploration, colonialism, and fashion, objects can generate assimilation, appropriation or resistance. Such objects juxtapose distance and presence to highlight how the local engenders mutable physical, symbolic and affective meanings through transcultural dynamics. Studies of the geohistory of art offer methods to analyze cross-cultural perspectives that rewrite materials, contents and formats, revealing that objects have no fixed meanings but undergo continual processes of unmaking/remaking and decontextualizing/recontextualizing.