Travelling Art Histories

Travelling Art Histories

Every encounter expands our horizon of experience. For art history, this simple fact has complex consequences. As a field, it has dealt with a transnationally defined subject from the start and yet, on a methodological level, is firmly positioned both linguistically and culturally. As a result of phenomena of mobility and circulation, art history sees itself confronted with major challenges to its own methods and canon. With the “Travelling Art Histories” research project, these will be considered within a framework that is consciously transregional, linking Latin America and Europe. As a space of a permanent exchange of (academic) cultures, in which the diversity of the history of ideas and artistic phenomena can be experienced, the German Center for Art History in Paris offers a fitting point of departure, relevant experiences, as well as strategic networks within and outside of Europe. The initiative is part of a fundamental paradigm shift within the humanities toward focusing on and researching cultures outside of Europe. With its new research focus, the DFK Paris would like to actively participate in this movement and help open the field in an innovative way.

“Travelling Art Histories” was conceived as a mobile research project centered around a series of transregional academies that will be held at different locations throughout Latin America. In critical opposition to a dichotomy of center and periphery, the project was expressly assembled as a network that reflects but does not reproduce hegemonic asymmetries in order to counter a differentiation between (European) actors and (“exotic”) objects of examination from the beginning. The changing locations of the project meetings is intended to insure the incorporation of as many perspectives as possible and to facilitate the shift in viewpoint. The dynamic diagonal format is aimed at contributing to the discussion of the various culturally creative processes, appropriation strategies, translation and comparative modalities from transregional and transcultural perspectives rather than simply describing and comparing artistic tendencies.



Modernisms: Concepts, Contexts, Circulations

Transregional Academy

From July 16 through 24, a transregional academy for 20 young researchers and 11 senior scholars took place in São Paulo. The goal of the academy was to facilitate exchange across national and regional borders on concepts and variations of modernisms. To this end, the debates in the Latin American countries were placed alongside those held in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America and situated within a global context. The academy was organized in collaboration with the Forum Transregionale Studien and took place at the Universidade Federal de São Paulo (Unifesp) and the Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo (MACUSP); it concluded with an official conference on July 23. Concept: Lena Bader, Jens Baumgarten, and Thomas Kirchner.

Further information can be found at: Transregionale Akademien

For the academy report, visit: Bericht Transregionale Akademien 


Exotic Images: Art History’s Wanderlust


On June 9 and 10, 2016, a workshop on the topic “Exotic Images: Art History’s Wanderlust,” took place. In keeping with the DFK Paris’s new transregional research focus, the goal was to facilitate an interdisciplinary dialog between art history and post colonial studies with regard to discussions of the exotic. Like a common thread, the popularity of the exotic, which persisted in spite of pointed criticism of exoticism, ran through the contributions of the invited international participants as a topical reference point. Beginning with selected case studies, the various discourses were discussed from the perspectives of critical methodology and the history of ideas. Particular emphasis was laid on discussing the extent to which “exotic images,” as a symptom of a gap, point to a desideratum of art history—a question that can indeed be analyzed from a historiographic perspective. At the end of the first day of the workshop, an evening lecture, open to the public, was held by Anne Lafont (INHA): “L’exotisme en régime racial. La norme et l’écart dans l’art des Lumières.” The event was organized and conceived by Lena Bader (DFK Paris) and Merel van Tilburg (Courtauld Institute of Art London).

For more information, visit: Exotische Bilder



Displaced Images: Modern Showplaces of Art

Research Project

To learn more about this research project, visit: Deplatzierte Bilder


Prof. Dr. Thomas Kirchner, Direktor des DFK Paris

Prof. Dr. Thomas Kirchner

Phone +33 (0)1 42 60 67 82
Dr. Lena Bader

Dr. Lena Bader

Research department director
Phone +33 (0)1 42 60 41 22