CFP: Routes and Contact Zones. Artistic Mobility and Exchange (Munich, 11-13 Oct 18)

Routes and Contact Zones. Artistic Mobility and Exchange in Central Eastern and North Eastern Europe

Deadline: Mar 5, 2018

German and Polish versions of this text available online, see reference link below

Working Group of German and Polish Art Historians and Conservators
Art History Institute, Ludwig-Maximilian-University Munich

26. Conference of the Working Group of German and Polish Art Historians and Conservators / Homburger Colloquy (Homburger Gespräch) of the Böckler-Mare-Balticum-Foundation, Munich 11.-13. October 2018

The mobility of people, objects and ideas determined the art scene in Central Eastern and North Eastern Europe for centuries and promoted transregional exchange. In contrast, art historiography in the countries of these regions has long been influenced by nationally defined political concepts that posit clearly distinct cultural developments. If, however, art is understood as a product of cross-border, transcultural exchange, then any scholarly investigation must also consider the transfer routes and the meeting places found along them.

Trade routes by sea and by land, and the networks of rail and contemporary airlines, all continue to promote artistic exchange. They provide the infrastructure for the mobility not only of different actors (artists, art patrons, art dealers), but also of works of art and materials, and indeed of ideas, fashions, technologies and knowledge. Some of these road networks have developed into permanent routes of cross-border artistic communication with fixed stations, where, for example, the art trade is concentrated. However, actors and objects have not always been able to operate on the tried and tested paths: mobility and communication have been temporarily hampered by war, by political or natural blockades; the search for alternatives has then sometimes led to the emergence of new places of exchange and to a shifting of the relationship between the “center” and the “periphery”.

Contact zones
This network, which is both geographical and communicative, carries the movements of both artists and works of art, and the nodes at which its transregional exchanges are concentrated play a key role. Commercial and residential cities, royal and noble courts, the offices of merchants, the studios of artists, academies, the salons of the intellectual elites, museums, galleries and art dealer depots act in very different ways as contact zones for the arts. As such, they inspire transregional and transnational collaborations and the exchange of artistic ideas and models, as well as the transfer of knowledge, materials and techniques, and contribute to the emergence of new, hybrid artistic creations that reflect the diversity of cultures involved in their genesis. However, contact zones can also become the scene of conflict and competition between foreign and domestic artists or between various interest groups. The map of these meeting places can moreover vary according to alterations in social and economic conditions, which are in turn reflected in the changing patterns of transnational cultural transfers in space and over time.

The conference will focus on the well-known as well as the hitherto less well-researched routes that led to and into Central-Eastern and North-Eastern Europe, and which contributed to artistic mobility. Several questions arise: Which (infra)structures, actors and personal networks support mobility and the consequent transnational communication, and which ones block them? Which traditional methods (eg. qualitative, source-based case analysis) and innovative methods (eg. quantitative, computer assisted geovisualisation and network analysis) can provide new insights into the pathways of artistic transfer?

In addition to the well-known names (eg. Prague, Krakow, Vilnius), we shall examine the hitherto less explored loci of artistic exchange in Central-Eastern and North-Eastern Europe, and question formerly dominant perspectives on ‘centers’ and ‘peripheries’. Both case studies and comparative studies documenting and analyzing the exchange processes and their impact on art production are welcome. In addition, attention should be paid not only to the traditional main actors of the art scene (artist, client), but also to the seemingly secondary “supporting actors”, such as merchants, material suppliers, (art) agents and dealers or curators.

Although the geographical focus of the conference is on Central-Eastern and North-Eastern Europe, transregional perspectives addressing artistic exchange of these regions with / in other art centers within and beyond Europe are very welcome. The historical framework – from the Middle Ages to the present day – is deliberately broad to encourage synchronous and diachronic comparisons.

The 26th session of the Working Group of German and Polish Art Historians and Conservators, also designated the Homburger Colloquy of the Böckler-Mare-Balticum Foundation (Bad Homburg), is organized by the Institute of Art History of the Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich at the Central Institute for Art History in Munich.

Conference languages are German and English. In addition to the papers (speaking time 20 mns), the format of the so-called information forum provides an opportunity for the presentation of current individual or institutional research projects on art history and monument preservation dealing with topics of cultural heritage in Central-Eastern and North-Eastern Europe (short presentations, speaking time 10 mns).

Please send in your proposal of paper or short presentation (max. 2000 characters), together with a short CV (max 1000 characters) by March 5, 2018. Please include both your e-mail and postal address, as well as information on your current affiliation, to:

Prof. Dr. Aleksandra Lipinska, Institut für Kunstgeschichte, LMU München:

Programme Committee

  • Prof. Dr. Aleksandra Lipińska, Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Münche
  • Dr. Ulrike Nürnberger, Böckler-Mare-Balticum-Stiftung, Bad Homburg v.d. Höhe
  • PD Dr. Beate Störtkuhl, Arbeitskreis deutscher und polnischer Kunsthistoriker und Denkmalpfleger

Reference: CFP: Routes and Contact Zones. Artistic Mobility and Exchange (Munich, 11-13 Oct 18). In:, Jan 26, 2018. <