Editorial - immediations 2016 - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Editorial – immediations 2016

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The articles in the 2016 issue of immediations are tied together by a common strand concerning the aesthetics and violent politics of the human figure: the struggles inherent to how the body is socially constructed and consumed. Jessie Robertson considers how contemporary American and European biometric facial surveillance technologies intersect with sexism and racism, and evaluates current artistic attempts to challenge and subvert such systems. Michele Collier investigates how ambiguous moral and erotic narratives in studiolo reliefs in early-sixteenth-century Italy stimulated debate among the intelligentsia. By focusing on mineral and alchemical metaphors for the human mind and thought in the poetry and writing of André Breton (1896–1966), Will Atkin’s essay presents significant art historical implications for the understanding of Surrealism in the aftermath of two World Wars. Olivia Ghosh explores relationships between Egon Schiele’s (1890–1918) nudes and intellectual culture in early-twentieth-century Vienna, particularly the works of Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) and Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951), playfully and incisively asking if the drawings themselves can ‘desire’.

Given that immediations represents The Courtauld Institute of Art’s many historical specialisms and asks questions about the place of art in society, Jeremy Deller (b.1966) is very fitting for the 2016 cover. The new work, based on this Courtauld alumnus and Turner Prize-winning artist’s project Love is Enough (2014–2016), has been designed specially for us. Bringing together William Morris’s leaf patterns and Andy Warhol’s camouflage prints via the psychedelic aesthetics of 1990s rave culture, Deller’s work explores how representations of nature have been historically constructed in relation to socialism, consumerism, militarism and protest movements. Responding to the events of 2016, the cover is a timely contribution by an artist who addresses issues that are among some of the most pressing today, such as class politics in the United Kingdom and the global challenges of climate change.

Jeremy Deller discusses his art in relationship to some of these fraught questions in an interview with the editors-in-chief and Boris Čučković Berger, which will be published exclusively online. immediations has built a reputation for more than a decade for publishing innovative peer-reviewed art history by emerging scholars, and we are excited to contribute further exceptional research in its thirteenth year. We are delighted that for the first time immediations will be going open access and online, as well as retaining our print issue. As part of our digitisation project, we are pleased to publish an article exclusively online: Claire Brisby’s analysis of the negotiation between east and west in a Bulgarian icon-painters’ archive, 1800–1850. To the editors-in-chief it has felt urgent that the research published by the journal should be as widely accessible as possible. immediations is now at the forefront of the endeavour to provide scholars in the arts and humanities with open access to new research and writing. In this regard we are enormously grateful to Dr Alixe Bovey (Head of Research) for developing her vision of The Courtauld’s digital future, and to Dr Fern Insh (Mellon Digital Research Forum Project Officer) for her kind and tireless guidance, expertise and invaluable assistance with designing an online immediations experience. We remain greatly appreciative of our subscribers to the print issue and their support for the work of The Courtauld’s committed research students.

The 2016 issue also features book reviews by Kate Pleydell, Isabella Boorman, Nicola Jennings, Wiktor Komorowski, Hongmiao Shi, Camilla Pietrabissa and Matthew Cheale, on subjects as diverse as global historiographies of ornament and a re-appraisal of Brutalist architecture in post-war England. For the first time we have included a review of two exhibitions and their accompanying publications, by Imogen Tedbury, on Sandro Botticelli’s (1445–1510) illustrations to Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) and the painter’s modern afterlives in culture and kitsch, held at The Courtauld Gallery and the V&A respectively.

The issue has been edited by Edwin Coomasaru and Thomas Hughes (editors-in-chief), with the tireless assistance of the editorial board: Maggie Crosland, Catherine Howe (designer), Jenna Lundin Aral, Kristina Rapacki, Samuel Raybone (book reviews editor), Julia Secklehner and Rachel Stratton. Thomas and Edwin extend their warmest thanks and appreciation to the editorial board, the external advisory board, the authors, The Research Forum, Fraser Muggeridge, Jules Estèves and Jeremy Deller.


Edwin Coomasaru and Thomas Hughes, Editors-in-Chief

Maggie Crosland

Catherine Howe

Jenna Lundin Aral

Kristina Rapacki

Samuel Raybone

Julia Secklehner

Rachel Stratton


© 2016 The Courtauld Institute of Art, London

Designed by Catherine Howe (print) and Fern Insh (digital)


Susan Aberth (Bard College)

Leonard-Daniel Aldea (University of Oxford)

Simon Baker (Tate)

Durdja Bartlett

Tessel M. Baudin (Universiteit van Amsterdam)

Wolfgang Brückle

Molly Brunson (Yale University)

Caroline Campbell (The National Gallery, London)

Annemarie Weyl Carr (Southern Methodist University)

Judith Clark (London College of Fashion)

David Peters Corbett (University of East Anglia and The Courtauld Institute of Art)

David Cunningham (University of Westminster)

Michael Duffy (MoMA, New York)

Helen Evans (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Jacob Gaboury (Stony Brook University)

Rhonda Garelick

Linda Goddard (University of St Andrews)

Pia Gottschaller (Getty Conservation Institute)

Isabel Horovitz (The Painting Conservation Studio)

Sarah James (UCL)

Sabine Kriebel (University of Cork)

Angeliki Lymberopoulou (Open University)

Vasileios Marinis (Yale University)

Malcolm Miles (Plymouth University)

Martin Myrone (Tate Britain)

Diana Newall (Open University)

Jeanne Nuechterlein (York)

Wendy Salmond (Chapman University, CA)

Stephanie Schwartz (UCL)

Nat Silver (The Frick Collection)

Frances Spalding (University of Cambridge)

Catherine Spencer (University of St Andrews)

John Paul Stonard (Burlington Magazine)

Lisa Turvey (Artforum)

Dr Sarah Tyler Brooks ( James Madison University)

Jane Tynan (Central Saint Martins)

Sabine Wieber (University of Glasgow)

Kim Woods (Open University)

Peter Zusi (UCL)


Jeremy Deller, Love is Enough, 2016, image and cover design courtesy of the artist.



immediations is an annual, peer-reviewed journal of art history. The editors welcome submissions from current members of the postgraduate research community of The Courtauld Institute of Art and from pre-doctoral and recent post-doctoral scholars who have spent part of their postgraduate career there.

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