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Alberto Savinio Study Days

Type: Calls For Papers [View all]
Posted by: Center for Italian Modern Art
Deadline: Mon, January 29th, 2018

The Center for Italian Modern Art (CIMA) presents the first exhibition in the United States in over two decades dedicated to the work of Alberto Savinio, on view through June 23, 2018. An exceptional visual artist and member of the Parisian avant-garde, Savinio was also a gifted and prolific writer, critic, pianist, composer, and set designer.

The exhibition Alberto Savinio features twenty-five works created by the artist after his second move to Paris in 1926. These paintings illustrate two major themes in his oeuvre: the expressive power of imaginary landscapes and the fraught emotional terrain of family life, as seen in his metamorphosed and hybrid figures. However, it would be limiting to consider Savinio’s career exclusively through his pictorial production, as painting represents just one aspect of what the artist calls his centrale creativa. Just as Savinio worked across various media, a thorough understanding of the artist’s unique practice must also encompass his literary, theatrical, and musical creations, their influences and interconnections.

Aiming to further investigate the major themes of the exhibition, as well as to offer new insights into the general debate on Savinio’s complex oeuvre, the 2017-2018 CIMA Fellows invite proposals for papers for the Alberto Savinio Study Days, to be held on site in New York on April 26 and 27, 2018. The Study Days will be an occasion to gather together scholarly contributions in different research fields—including history of art, literature, theater, and music—illuminating Savinio’s renowned interdisciplinarity. Unlike conventional conferences, the Savinio Study Days will be a rare opportunity to discuss the artist’s career while surrounded by numerous examples of his work.

Topics of consideration may include:

1. Cultural background, sources, and symbols informing Savinio’s work:
One of the peculiarities of Savinio’s artistic, literary, theatrical, and musical production is his reinterpretation of ancient and classical myths. What are the dominant features and the cultural references in Savinio’s process of metamorphosis, which involve not only myths, but also Savinio’s representation of family and of childhood?

2. Savinio and contemporary artistic movements:
Savinio never was formally aligned with a single artistic group or movement; nevertheless, he was in contact with several of the most important members of the avant-garde movements of the first

half of the twentieth century. How did Savinio influence—or how has he been influenced by— movements such as Metafisica, Valori Plastici, French Surrealism, and Realismo Magico?

3. Savinio as critic and Savinio as a subject of criticism:
Savinio’s relationship to criticism is ambivalent. On the one hand, he was active as a critic of Italian art and French Surrealism: he wrote on art, literature, theater, and music in several Italian and French artistic revues. On the other, he also was the object of art criticism. What is the relationship between Savinio and his contemporary colleagues and critics, including Raffaele Carrieri, Mario Praz, and Carlo Bo? To what extent did these connections have concrete consequences for Savinio’s critical reception?

4. Savinio’s legacy:

Savinio’s legacy can be traced within many cultural fields, from the critical reception of his retrospectives and solo exhibitions to the reprinting of his books by the Italian publishing house Adelphi. Moreover, the reception of Savinio’s work can be investigated through the influential role he has played for subsequent generations of artists, from the 1940s to the 1980s. How has Savinio’s visual and literary imagery been passed down? What are the historical circumstances leading to Savinio’s reconsideration and rediscovery? Through which kind of modalities and by what means has Savinio’s work been exhibited, visualized, translated, restaged, and performed?

Please send an abstract (250-300 words), title, and a short biography (100-150 words) in English to with the subject line SAVINIO CFP by Monday, January 29, 2018. CIMA offers a $500 honorarium and assistance with the costs of travel and accommodation to those speakers whose papers are accepted. The proceedings will be filmed for archiving on CIMA’s website, and the papers will be published in an online journal on CIMA’s research portal (under construction).

Deadline: Monday, January 29, 2018.

Posted on Tue, November 21st, 2017
Expires on Mon, January 29th, 2018

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