On behalf of the editorial board, I am delighted to present the 2020 issue of immediations, which features six articles that reach from the Byzantine world to the contemporary post-Anthropocene, spanning broadly across time, space and media. The 2020 issue, plentiful in its contents, is an important testament to the resilience of its contributors and my colleagues in the editorial team – of which I am extremely proud. Navigating grief, loss and a global paradigm shift in how we do and think about research engendered by the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuous threat of irreversible climate change, research can – and must – continue.
The articles in this issue share the theme of embodiment: ideas and the experience of art are investigated as taking place in the body. They are also connected by the collective commitment to continuously expand and diversify the discipline of art history through new perspectives and methodologies – a commitment which has recently been fuelled by the strength of the Black Lives Matter protests, which push us to challenge the boundaries of art history and confront its established norms.
Alevtina Tanu identifies the imagery of the Mother of God employed to depict queens and empresses in two artworks from the Eastern Orthodox world, as a form of physical and spiritual empowerment. Thomas Cooper offers a novel reading of May Morris’s embroidery practice through an embodied sense of the past and of artistic, social memory. In Lacey Minot’s article, Cecil Beaton’s Ashcombe House emerges as an architectural form of dress, an extension of Beaton’s identity and social consciousness. Audrey Warne subverts established notions of gender roles and heteropatriarchy by offering an alternative reading of Man Ray’s sadomasochistic photographs. Julie Hrischeva presents an analysis of Ori Gersht’s films through Walter Benjamin’s writings, showing them as visual means to inhabit past traumas of the Holocaust and Jewish diaspora; while Sophie Xiaofei Guo unpacks Lu Yang’s UterusMan as a reflection on the articulation and disarticulation of the biomedical gaze directed at the female body in contemporary Chinese society.
In its seventeenth year, immediations is proud to continue to showcase and support the rigorous and innovative research of postgraduate students and early career researchers from The Courtauld, but also to raise questions regarding tradition, institution and artistic practice. The work of the artist collective Slavs and Tatars, addressing the region of Eurasia, reflects on and challenges the norms of language and rational thought established in the European Enlightenment to consider more visceral ways of digesting knowledge, in an effort to reconsider notions of (trans)national, regional identity.
Their cover work, Kitab Kebab (Fatima et Marie) (2020), created especially for immediations, and the verso cover Pavement Prose: Język lata jak łopata (2016), strikingly convey these topics, which are covered in the fruitful discussion between Payam Sharifi of Slavs and Tatars and Bella Radenović and Chelsea Pierce from the editorial board. Featured in this number is also a conversation between Associate Editor Laura Franchetti and London-based artist Flora Yukhnovich, whose works similarly investigate the role of historical artistic language – the Rococo, in her case – for contemporary practice.
This issue also includes five exhibition reviews, which collectively reflect on the different interactions of art institutions, museums and galleries with history: challenging it, confronting it or doing it justice. In his review of Year 3, Steve McQueen’s 2019-2021 show at Tate Britain, Dr Edwin Coomasaru analyses the relationship between museum installation, surveillance and Britain’s colonial history. Dominic Drey-Brown expands on the history and established canons of sculpture in his reading of Canova | Thorvaldsen: The Birth of Modern Sculpture at the Gallerie d’Italia in Milan. Maximiliane Leuschner reviews X6 Dance Space (1976-80): Liberation Notes at Cell Project Space, assessing how the exhibition sought to document a significant chapter of contemporary dance from 1970s England. Nada Raza’s impassioned experience of Homelands– Art from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan at Kettle’s Yard reflects on the history of the Partition to consider issues of representation of South Asian artists and art historians in the museum world. Alexandra Reyes, addressing the disruption to physical exhibitions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, offers a reading of Van Eyck: An Optical Revolution at the Museum of Fine Arts (MSK) in Ghent, reviewing the notion of visibility and its historical (re)volutions.
The 2020 issue is available both in print and online, allowing immediations to be as widely accessible as possible and at the forefront of open access to peer-reviewed scholarship in the arts and humanities. I extend my warmest thanks to our External Advisory Group, Professor Alixe Bovey, Dr Fern Insh and the staff of the Research Forum, our designers Janina Zylinska (print) and Dr Grace Williams (online) and Karin Kyburz (picture researcher), Ana-Maria Milčić and Harry Prance (Editors-in-Chief, immediations 2019), Slavs and Tatars and Flora Yukhnovich.
This issue of immediations has been edited by Ambra D’Antone with the assistance of the editorial team: Emily Christensen, Alice David, Laura Franchetti (Social Media Editor), Lorenzo Gatta, Jamie Haskell, Choghakate Kazarian (Reviews Editor), Helen Lewandowski (Reviews Editor), Erica Payet (Subscriptions Editor), Chelsea Pierce, Bella Radenović, Harvey Shepherd (Social Media Editor), Anya Smirnova – they have my sincerest thanks.
Ambra D’Antone (Editor-in-Chief)
Ambra D’Antone (Editor-in-Chief)
Laura Franchetti (Social Media Editor)
Choghakate Kazarian (Reviews Editor)
Helen Lewandowski (Reviews Editor)
Erica Payet (Subscriptions Editor)
Harvey Shepherd (Social Media Editor)
The Courtauld Institute of Art
Vernon Square, Penton Rise, King’s Cross, London WC1X 9EW
immediations is published annually.
© 2020 The Courtauld Institute of Art, London
External Advisory Group
Susan Aberth (Bard College)
Leonard-Daniel Aldea (University of Oxford)
Simon Baker (Maison européenne de la photographie)
Durdja Bartlett Bauduin (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
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)
Finola O’Kane Crimmins (University College Dublin)
David Cunningham (University of Westminster)
Dr Allison Deutsch (University College London)
Julien Domercq (National Gallery London)
Michael Duffy (MoMA, New York)
Helen Evans (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Professor Kate Flint (University of Southern California)
Dr Michelle Foot (University of Edinburgh)
Jacob Gaboury (University of California Berkeley)
Rhonda Garelick (University of Nebraska- Lincoln)
Linda Goddard (University of St Andrews)
Pia Gottschaller (Getty Conservation Institute)
Ari Heinrich (The Australian National University)
Isabel Horovitz (The Painting Conservation Studio)
Sarah James (University College London)
Alexandra Kaczenski (Case Western University)
Rebecca Karl (New York University)
Sabine Kriebel (University College Cork)
Angeliki Lymberopoulou (Open University)
Vasileios Marinis (Yale University)
Malcolm Miles (Plymouth University)
Martin Myrone (Tate Britain)
Diana Newall (Open University)
Jeanne Nuechterlein (The University of York)
Anna Russakoff (American University of Paris)
Wendy Salmond (Chapman University, CA)
Stephanie Schwartz (University College London)
Nat Silver (The Frick Collection)
Frances Spalding (University of Cambridge)
Catherine Spencer (University of St Andrews)
Anne Rudloff Stanton (University of Missouri)
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)
Beth Williamson (University of Bristol)
Kim Woods (Open University)
Peter Zusi (University College London)
Front: Slavs and Tatars, Kitab Kebab (Fatima et Marie), 2020, books, metal kebab skewer, 29.5 × 26.5 × 61 cm.
Verso: Slavs and Tatars, Pavement Prose: Język lata jak łopata, 2016, steel, wood, paint, glass, 124 × 78.5 × 40 cm.
Courtesy of the artist. © Slavs and Tatars.
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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