London, Asia, Art, Worlds conference: Sociality and Affect
Conference, Lecture – Leela Gandhi, Simone Wille, Greg Salter
- 27 May 2021
- 1:00 – 4:15 pm
- This event is part of London, Asia, Art, Worlds, a multi-part programme of online events taking place in May and June 2021. It is envisioned as a murmuration, a series of interconnected papers, conversations, performances and interventions.
- Zoom webinar
The Sociality and Affect panel explores modes of imagining transnational relationships and sites of engagement.
Chair: Sarah Victoria Turner (Deputy Director for Research, Paul Mellon Centre)
Sociality and Affect
This talk examines circuits of anti-nuclear pacifism as part of a meditation on different ways of thinking about abstraction in the mid-twentieth-century – different in genre, discipline, and in terms of cultural context. Such incongruous, multimedia genealogies of abstraction give us an unexpected template for epistemological nonviolence, and perhaps for nonviolence, as such. The Cold War is a backdrop for the inquiry.
By following artist Krishna Reddy’s (1925–2018) route from pre- and post-partition India to postwar London, Paris and from there to Central Europe, this paper will read artistic practice in response to Cold War friendships, collaborations, and aesthetic affinities on a planetary scale. The focus will be on some of the postwar years established and emerging new art centers, art discourses and international platforms to which Reddy actively and engagingly contributed, thereby pointing to the complex and polycentric globalisation of the 1950s and early 1960s. Given Reddy’s extensive transnational experience, exposure and itinerary this paper will respond to the conference framework London, Asia, by making a proposition towards the rethinking of the history of modern art as global, interconnected and above all informed by transnational friendships, networks, solidarities and encounters.
This paper addresses the transnational relationships between India and Britain that are traced and imagined in Sunil Gupta’s photography from the 1980s. It brings works from Gupta’s Exiles series, 1987 – a series driven by a desire to ‘create some images of gay Indian men’ and which took him back to Delhi, the city where he grew up – into dialogue with series that he produced in London, such as Ten Years On, 1984–6, which captures gay and lesbian couples in domestic spaces just as hysteria about AIDS was taking hold, and ‘Pretended’ Family Relationships, 1989, which responds to Section 28 with depictions of interracial same-sex couples.
London, Asia, Art, Worlds is convened by:
Hammad Nasar, Senior Research Fellow, Paul Mellon Centre
Ming Tiampo, Professor, Art History, and Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
Sarah Victoria Turner, Deputy Director for Research, Paul Mellon Centre
About the speakers
Leela Gandhi is John Hawkes Professor of Humanities and English at Brown University. She has taught at the University of Chicago, Delhi University, and La Trobe University, and held visiting professorships in Australia, Denmark, India, Italy and Iran. She is founding co-editor of the journal Postcolonial Studies, board member of Postcolonial Text, and a Senior Fellow of the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University. Her publications include Postcolonial Theory (Revised Second Edition, 2019), The Common Cause (2015), Affective Communities (2006), and Measures of Home: Selected Poems (2000).
Simone Wille is an art historian. She currently directs the research project Patterns of Trans-regional Trails. The Materiality of Art Works and Their Place in the Modern Era. Bombay, Paris, Prague, Lahore, ca. 1920s to early 1950s, funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). Wille’s publications include her books Modern Art in Pakistan. History, Tradition, Place. New Delhi: Routledge, 2015 and André Lhote and His International Students, Zeynep Kuban, Simone Wille (eds.), Innsbruck: Innsbruck University Press, 2020. She is associated with the University of Innsbruck and is based in Vienna.
Greg Salter is a lecturer in art history at the University of Birmingham. He researches and teaches on art in Britain since 1945 with a particular focus on gender and sexuality. His first book is Art and Masculinity in Post-War Britain: Reconstructing Home, published in 2019. His current research project traces the transnational histories of queer art in Britain since the 1960s, with a particular focus on kinship.
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