Rome reconfigured : contemporary visions of the Eternal City, 1989–2014
Title: Rome reconfigured : contemporary visions of the Eternal City, 1989–2014
Author: THORMOD, Kaspar
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2018
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of History and Civilization
This study examines how visions of Rome manifest themselves in artworks produced by 265 international artists during or after their stay at the city’s foreign academies, 1989–2014. I treat the extensive body of aesthetic material as a laboratory for exploring the wealth of responsive, sometimes agitated, sometimes conflicting ideas which are not passively transmitted by Rome, but framed, activated and given form by the artists. The account is wide-ranging in so far as it combines a large number of artworks; and it is selective in the sense that it frames these artworks within specific thematically oriented chapters. The result is a dynamic visual history of how artists reconfigure Rome today – from critical evaluations of the institutional frameworks and legacies of the foreign academies to explorations of how artists negotiate the spectacle of Roman sites; from portraits of the people who inhabit the city to studies of how the notions of history and Roman artistic traditions are appropriated and reconfigured in the present. These international artists create work that is experimental, open and ambiguous – work that situates Rome in the entanglement of past and present as well as in local and global contexts. It is through the tensions and possibilities that this entanglement brings to the fore that the artworks challenge more traditional historical reflections on the city. When artists successfully reconfigure Rome, they provide us with visions that, being anchored in a present, undermine the connotations of permanence and immovability that cling to the ‘Eternal City’ epithet. Looking at this work, we are invited critically to engage with the question: what is Rome today? – or perhaps better: what can Rome be?
Defence date: 29 June 2018; Examining Board: Stéphane Van Damme, European University Institute (Supervisor); Lucy Riall, European University Institute (Second reader); Mieke Bal, University of Amsterdam (External advisor); Henrik Reeh, University of Copenhagen
Type of Access: embargoedAccess