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On 30 and 31 May, 2023, the Insitut für Kunst- und Bild­ge­schichte hosted an inter­na­tional confe­rence devoted to the theme of imprint.  The confe­rence explored the tech­nical and meta­pho­rical impli­ca­tions of imprints, casts, seals and other types of repro­duc­tions made by physical contact between two bodies. 

The confe­rence, orga­nised by Stefano de Bosio, Kath­leen Chris­tian, and Ralph Deko­ninck, was made possible by a gene­rous grant from the Thyssen Stif­tung and was part of the acti­vi­ties of the inter­na­tional rese­arch network Logi­ques du négatif.

Contact: Trans­cul­tural Tech­ni­ques and Meta­phors of Imprinting

30 May and 31 May, Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum, Confe­rence Room

May 30

10:00–10:30    Welcome and introduction

Session 1 — Tech­ni­ques and Technologies

Chair: Kath­leen Chris­tian, Humboldt-Univer­sität zu Berlin

10:30–11:00     Jeffrey Moser, Brown Univer­sity, The Specular Mode in Medieval Chinese Art

11:00–11:30    Ruth Noyes, National Museum of Denmark, Copen­hagen, Cera, cartapesta, and pasta di reli­quie: Impres­sing and Imprin­ting corpi­santi Relic-Sculp­tures in 18th-century Rome

11:30–12:00.    Jennifer Chuong, Harvard Univer­sity / Humboldt-Univer­sität zu Berlin, Prin­ting with Nature in Early America

12:00–12:30    Break 1

12:30–13:00.    Steffen Siegel, Folk­wang Univer­sität der Künste, Feathers, Butter­flies, and some Prus­sian Kings: Johann Carl Enslen and the Begin­ning of Photo­gra­phic Imprinting

13:00–13:30.    Buket Alti­noba, Univer­sität München, Hands-free? Machines for repro­du­cing sculp­ture and the ques­tion of the authentic imprint

13:30–15:00    Lunch (for spea­kers only)

Session 2 — Discourses

Chair: Jérémie Koering, Univer­sité de Fribourg

15:00–15:30.    Carl Knap­pett, Univer­sity of Toronto, Tech­no­lo­gies of imprin­ting and contai­ning: conjoined stra­te­gies for struc­tural objects

15:30–16:00.    Verity Platt, Cornell Univer­sity, Sponge, Foam, and the Truth in Painting

16:00–16:30.    Kath­leen Chris­tian, Humboldt-Univer­sität, Marble to Bronze, Bronze to marble. Antico and Michel­an­gelo in Rome

16:30–17:00    Break 2

17:00–17:30.    Ralph Deko­ninck, Univer­sité de Louvain, Homo in imagine [impressa] ambulat, The proof of the (engraved) image

17:30–18:00.    Stefano de Bosio, Humboldt-Univer­sität, The logic of the nega­tive: on engraved gems and their Early-Modern (im)prints

May 31

Session 3 — (Trans-)cultural meta­phors and imagi­na­ries I

Chair: Ralph Deko­ninck, Univer­sité Catho­lique de Louvain

10:00–10:30.    Markus Spaeth, Univer­sity of Giessen, Bodily impres­sion and legal authen­ti­ca­tion. Dimen­sions of mate­ria­lity in sealing culture of medieval Europe

10:30–11:00     Nicolas Sarzeaud, Univer­sité Lyon II-Lumière, Holy stains in print culture? On the imprints of the Body of Christ

11:00–11:30    Break 3

11:30–12:00.    Patricia Falguières, École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Animal typo­gra­phies: on life casting

12:00–12:30     Jérémie Koering, Univer­sité de Fribourg, Imprints to Swallow: Insti­tu­ting Commu­nity in Early Modern Europe

12:30–14:00    Lunch

Session 4 — (Trans-)cultural meta­phors and imagi­na­ries II 

Chair: Stefano de Bosio, Humboldt-Univer­sität zu Berlin

14:00–14:30.    Jakub Steiskal, Masaryk Univer­sity, Brno, What do Rubbings Preserve? A Foray into the Aesthe­tics of a Technique

14:30–15:00     Johanna Malt, King’s College, The Thing and the Hole

15:00–15:30.    Chari Larsson, Grif­fith Univer­sity, Breathing, Erasing, Drip­ping: Imprin­ting in Contem­po­rary Abori­ginal Art

15:30–16:00    Break 4

16:00–16:30.    Matthias Mansen, Berlin, On making matrices (and wood­cuts), in conver­sa­tion with Stefano de Bosio

16:30–17:00     Vero­nika Tocha, Staat­li­chen Museen zu Berlin, Critical perspec­tives on anthro­po­lo­gical casts from colo­nial contexts

17:00–17:30                Final discussion


Auguste Rodin, Study of a Hand, c. 1885, The Metro­po­litan Museum of Art, New York