press release

Critical Realism in Contemporary Art: Around Allan Sekula’s photography is an international symposium organised by the Lieven Gevaert Research Centre for Photography and Visual Studies (LGC) at the University of Leuven, Belgium.

The symposium focuses on the critical realistic dimension of contemporary photography in its twofold relation to nineteenth century social realism on the one hand and to the recent developments in visual culture on the other hand. One of the main goals of the conference is to create a dialogue between artistic researchers and theorists. Therefore, besides contributions of some of the most prominent speakers in the field, there will be two panel discussions which will give voice not only to the theorists but also to practitioners of art. One of the central topics will be the possibility to (re)invent a socio-critical art in a globalised visual culture. Allan Sekula fulfils a crucial role within this discussion.

The conference opens on Friday, September 2nd at 6.00 p.m. with the world premiere of Allan Sekula’s new film Lottery of the Sea [2005], accompanied by a keynote lecture by the artist.

In response to the topic, Prof. Dr. William J.T. Mitchell (University of Chicago) has written a new paper, entitled 'Realism and the Digital Image', which he will address as the Lieven Gevaert Chair Speaker on Saturday September 3d at 3 p.m.

Other speakers include: David Green, Catharina Manchanda, Wouter Davids, Inge Henneman, Steven Jacobs, Maarten Vanvolsem, Liesbeth Decan, Eva Brems, Frits Gierstberg. The symposium's chairs and moderators are Hilde Van Gelder and Jan Baetens.

CONTENT Nineteenth century social realist thought translated itself into a figurative-realistic painting and sculpture of which Constantin Meunier was one of the greatest exponents in Belgium. The Meunier exhibition that takes place from April to September 2005 in Leuven under the title “Meunier, a dialogue. Contemporary art meets Constantin Meunier in Leuven” is open to the grand public but also has a stong research aspect [organisation Stedelijk Museum in cooperation with K.U.Leuven]. Through the confrontation between Meuniers work and contemporary visual art this exhibition has the ambition to discover how new forms of social realism are present in the current art field. It shows that photography today has taken over several key functions from the traditional artistic disciplines. This is particularly the case for the work of the American artist and critic Allan Sekula. His body of work is widely considered the most important international representative of what can be labelled as critical realism. In 2005 Sekula exhibits on a regular basis in Leuven, next to other artists such as Sven ‘t Jolle and Vincent Meessen.

The symposium attempts to create a dialogue between artistic researchers and theorists. One of its most central topics will be the possibility to (re)invent a socio-critical art in a globalised visual culture. Do the visual arts still have the potential to critically question the socio-political reality of today? Allan Sekula fulfills a key role within this discussion. He and other speakers will search a middle way in this dialogue.

Pressetext

Critical Realism in Contemporary Art: Around Allan Sekula’s photography
International Symposium
Organisation: Lieven Gevaert Centre, Leuven

Ort: STUK Arts Centre, Naamsestraat 96, 3000 Leuven

Vorträge von: William J.T. Mitchell, David Green, Catharina Manchanda, Wouter Davids, Inge Henneman, Steven Jacobs, Maarten Vanvolsem, Liesbeth Decan, Eva Brems, Frits Gierstberg
Moderation: Hilde Van Gelder, Jan Baetens

Ausstellungen:
22.08.05 - 26.09.05 Allan Sekula: Shipwreck and Workers STUK Arts Centre, Leuven
05.04.05 - 25.09.05 Constantin Meunier: A Dialogue" City Museum, Leuven

Programm im Internet:
http://www.lievengevaertcentre.be/sekula_symposium/index.htm