Abstract Art and Nature Program

The Lives of Form: Abstract Art and Nature

International Symposium

School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Jacobs University, Bremen

13.-15. August 2009


Thursday, August 13, 2009

14:00 Registration starts

15:00 Opening Remarks
Hendrik Birus, Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences

15:00 – 18:00 Session 1: Abstracting from Nature
Chair: Isabel Wünsche

Paul Crowther
Abstracting-In: A Theory of Meaning for Abstract Art

Andrew Inkpin
The Complexities of “Abstracting” from Nature

Coffee Break

Henning Engelke
Geometry and Contingency: Changing Aesthetic Concepts in Abstract Film

Andrew McNamara
The Nature of Modernity & the Dilemma of Creativity, Then & Now


18:00 – 20:00 Dinner

21:00 Opening Reception

Friday, August 14, 2009

9:30 – 12:30 Session 2a:
The Other Side of Abstraction: Nature and Formative Processes
Chair: Birgit Mersmann

Manfred Milz
Henri Bergson and the Formation of Abstraction (1889-1914)

Alison Syme
Frantisek Kupka’s “Floral Romances”

Coffee Break

Herb Hartel
Natural Forces and Phenomena as Inspiration and Meaning in Early American Abstraction

Isabel Wünsche
Evolutionary Thought and Creative Intuition: Organic Ideas in Russian Avant-Garde Art


12:30 – 14:30 Lunch Break

15:00 – 18:00 Session 2b:
The Other Side of Abstraction: Nature and Formative Processes
Chair: Paul Crowther

Elitza Dulguerova
Kazimir Malevich: Form between Nature and Photography

Christina Lodder

Man, Space and the Zero of Form: Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematism

Coffee Break

Marek Wieczorek
The Matter of Spirit: Piet Mondrian between Physics and Metaphysics

Fabienne Eggelhöfer, Marianne Keller
Paul Klee’s Teaching Notes on Formative Creation: From Nature as a Model to Abstraction


18:00 – 20:00 Dinner

Saturday, August 15, 2009

9:30 – 12:30 Session 3: Abstraction and the Unconscious
Chair: Isabel Wünsche

Irena Kossowska
A Heliographic Cosmogony: Karol Hiller’s Abstract Compositions

Birgit Mersmann
Tracing Creation: Pictorial Writing as a Pathway to Abstraction

Coffee Break

Elizabeth Langhorne
Jackson Pollock: “Sinfully Producing Images”?

Stephen Polcari

Jackson Pollock’s Shamanic Idea of the Unconscious


12:30 – 14:30 Lunch Break

15:00 – 18:00 Session 4: Beyond Nature? Abstraction in Late Modernism
Chair: Birgit Mersmann

Eva Ehninger
“Man is Present”: Barnett Newman’s Search for the Experience of the Self

Laura Petican
The Arte Povera Experience: Nature Re-Presented

Coffee Break

John G. Hatch
Nature, Entropy, and Robert Smithson’s Utopian Vision of a Culture of Decay

Suzaan Boettger
Dirt into Earth: Transformations in the Material and Cultural Construction of Nature in Environmental Art since the Sixties


18:00 – 18:30 Wrap-Up Session

18:30 – 20:30 Dinner