CFP Mar 3, 2012

Re-Writing Objects & Histories of Sculpture (London, 11-12 May 12)

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN, May 11–12, 2012
Deadline: Mar 23, 2012

Cynthia de Souza

Call for Papers

(A Conference on Sculpture and Change)

Papers are invited for the conference ‘Moving in Three Dimensions:
Re-writing the Objects and Histories of Sculpture’, the concluding
event of the Research Forum project on sculpture and change, ‘Three
Approaches to Three Dimensions’.

Although it provides an opportunity to explore some of the issues
raised by the preceding workshops, participation in the earlier stages
of the project is not necessary in order to present a paper at the

The Conference will be structured around three themes, addressing some
of the motivations for changes to sculpture and its contexts, their
outcomes and the new approaches to writing their histories which they
call for.

Contributions are sought from those who pursue the art-historical
investigation of sculpture, those concerned with its curation and
display and those responsible for its conservation and technical
examination. Each session will be thematically focused, without bias to
either period or discipline, drawing on a wide range of methodologies
and expertise.


The discourse surrounding the traumatic events leading to the removal,
transport and relocation of sculpture often centres on the acts of
destruction associated with revolution and iconoclasm. However, the
changes resulting from re-use and conversion, whether spiritual,
functional or symbolic, are as important to our understanding of the
objects and locations of sculpture in their surviving states as are the
records and physical traces of loss. Papers are invited for this
session which approach issues raised by changes made to sculpture in
situ, objects whose location has remained static whilst their function
has been altered, and the disfigurement, dismemberment and disguise of
sculpture in the face of radically shifting social and political


Questions of the export and redisplay of sculpture, whether as the
result of sale or plunder (and of whether those two means of
acquisition can justifiably be separated) are pertinent not only to the
kinds of looking which are made available in their aftermath but also
to those modes of address to objects and contexts which are lost.
Whilst the restitution and re-housing of many sold and plundered
objects continues to be sought, it is seldom into their original place
of display and begs the question of whether a type of location such as
a museum or gallery is significantly (or in any way) different
depending on its broader location in a particular city or country.
This session will feature papers addressing some of the issues
surrounding the local and global movement of sculpture, its markets,
the traces it leaves and the ways in which it is recorded.


The study of sculpture has, to varying degrees, been conditioned by the
classification of its objects. This has been accomplished not only
according to their medium, place of origin and maker, but by the groups
into which they have been collected, collections often fuelled by
competition between nations, institutions and individuals. This
session will focus on the presentation and investigation of sculpture
within the confines of these artificial groupings. It will comprise
contributions exploring the opportunities for new sculptural
scholarship that such groupings present, the ways in which they have
determined the course of sculptural historiography and the mechanisms
by which they have been brought together.

Please send proposals of no more than 250 words by 23 March 2012 to

Conference papers will last twenty minutes.

For more information on the preceding workshops and the conference
please see:

Organised by Dr Jim Harris (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

CFP: Re-Writing Objects & Histories of Sculpture (London, 11-12 May 12). In:, Mar 3, 2012 (accessed Mar 20, 2023), <>.