PRIMARY SOURCES AT WORK
Nazi Looted Art – the Parisian scene
CALL FOR PARTICIPATION
The Bibliothèque Kandinsky’s Summer University is a Centre Pompidou research program installed on the very premises of the museum. It focuses on modern and contemporary art primary sources: archives, documentary materials (both written and visual), interviews, records and appropriations. As interdisciplinary initiative, the Summer University brings together young researchers: historians, art historians, anthropologists, sociologists, artists, critics and curators which share a collective reflection with art professionals and various scholars around source materials. It will be held in the museum’s space all around a conference table acting at the same time as an exhibition device displaying documents until September 2015. The space will be invested with facsimiles, reproductions and archival material invoked during the working sessions. Conceived following the Atlas model, it will be photographed each day. The working material will be annotated and commented by the participants during writing workshops. The editorial production of this material will be assembled in the format of a journal – « Journal de l’Université d’été de la Bibliothèque Kandinsky »- as a critical anthology registering the debates during the sessions and as a graphic production.
During the last twenty years, the crimes of plundered art and its subsequent restitutions were the object of various forms of discourse: historical, institutional, juridical or artistic. Numerous symposia as well as artistic projects are permeated by the crucial, even though technical, question of patrimonial legacy. For the next edition of its Summer University, the Bibliothèque Kandinsky will re-examine this question going along the primary sources.
Getting back to the topic of primary sources convokes the entire spectrum of their meanings and uses. Sources have a pivotal role in the writing and understanding of history. They also shed light on the often tortuous trajectory of some objects and on the legitimacy of restitution requests. They are frequently invested by complex intellectual and artistic operations seeking to find out the right distance in bringing up this phenomenon and the meanings of a past which inscribes itself in our present.
Nevertheless, a source “in itself” says very little. To make sense, it has to be articulated by multiple contextual connectors capable of conveying the stakes, scale and layers of the plundering process. A selection of sources will be available during the Summer University; participants are invited to bring up and contribute with their own resources, used in their research. Confronted to a diverse repertoire of sources, each participant will be expected to put together historiographical thinking, critical sense and inventiveness. The Bibliothèque Kandinsky Summer University 2015 edition will give the opportunity to put the sources “at work” and to bring together young researchers, curators and artists around the poignant subject of Nazi looted art on the Parisian scene.