Art and memory

Course Dates: 11/01/23 - 08/02/23
Time: 18:00 - 20:30
Location: Online
How have artists since 1960 engaged with the recent history and memory of political conflict? What role have artists had in remembering a difficult or traumatic past? What are the connections between memory and national identity in their work?
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £139.00 Senior fee £139.00 Concession £90.00

This course has now started

Course Code: VB850

Started Wed, eve, 11 Jan - 08 Feb '23

Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

In this course we will explore the ways in which a broad range of artists have sought to challenge the official silences of recent history, often articulating the narratives, meanings and memories of the dominated and marginalised or those denied representation. We will examine the role of these artists in remembering and reconstructing difficult or traumatic pasts in light of relevant theories of memory, including those drawn from the psychoanalytic tradition, for example on memory and architecture, childhood memory, surrealist notions of the unconscious and the uncanny, and the impossibility of representing trauma. We will also explore some of the ways in which artists engage with questions of national and individual identity.

Case studies will include the ruin and the relic as forms of political critique in the work of Joseph Beuys and Gordon Matta-Clark, the memory of political repression in Spain and Colombia in the installations of Juan Muñoz and Doris Salcedo, and challenges to deep-rooted racist visual tropes by American artists Fred Wilson and Ellen Gallagher. The final week, focusing on private and collective traumatic memory and the home in the sculpture of Louise Bourgeois and Rachel Whiteread, will offer points of comparison with earlier sessions.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

• World War II in the paintings of Anselm Kiefer and Gerhard Richter
• Political critique in the work of Joseph Beuys and Gordon Matta-Clark
• Art after civil war - Juan Muñoz and Doris Salcedo
• Art and the memory of trauma – Rachel Whiteread and Louise Bourgeois.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Give examples of a response to war / civil war by contemporary artists and discuss the cultural context and artist’s approach in each case.
- Discuss the role of memorial sculpture in a society’s recovery from war and/or mass trauma
- Give an example of how the depiction of war and/or trauma has been impacted by the society and culture into which a work was installed where these broader contexts might have driven the artist’s response.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is suitable for all levels.

You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety information as well as basic functions of Zoom, specifically microphone and camera.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught by lecture with slide images and you will be invited to participate in group discussion. There will be handouts provided by your tutor; these handouts will be available digitally via a Google Classroom. You will be invited to join the Google Classroom within a week of your course start date.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You might wish to purchase a notebook for taking notes. You might wish to buy some of the books on any reading list given out in class.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

You might also be interested in:
Spanish Art 1900-1937: the age of Picasso, Miró and Dalí
Spanish Art 1937-2000: propaganda, censorship and memory.

Mark Stuart-Smith

Mark Stuart-Smith gained his PhD in Art History at Birkbeck on silence in the work of the Spanish sculptor Juan Muñoz, and is writing a book on Muñoz. He has a diploma in painting from the Royal Academy schools, a BA in Art History (Birkbeck), and a Masters in Cultural Memory (University of London). Mark’s main research interests are 20th-century Spanish art, and art and homelessness. He writes for the Journal Art History, and also teaches art at homeless day centres in London, including the Connection at St Martin’s.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.