Difficult Heritage and Nature. Nature as an instrument of visual scepticism and the limits of this design strategy

Prof. Dr. Margit Kern

Universität Hamburg

Wednesday, 3 May 2023, 5.30 pm (BST)

ONLINE Lecture, hosted by the Warburg Institute.

Free and open to all via Zoom; please book a place via the Warburg Institute website here.

Image caption: War memorial Leuna, 1937
(photo: Margit Kern) 

After World War II, in Germany many monuments of National Socialism fell into disrepair and the overlaying of designed stone formations by plants was readily accepted. Trees were also deliberately planted to interrupt visual axes. This strategy of “letting the grass grow” over the difficult legacy has been widely criticised in research.

The lecture relates this post-war situation to recent developments in dealing with monuments of colonialism and fascism. For this solution in dealing with difficult heritage, the use of nature as a material for transformation, is currently experiencing a quite astonishing renaissance, without any continuity having been seen so far. In discussions, it is suggested that toxic monuments should be left to a natural process of decay, or a transformation with the help of nature is implicitly related to processes of healing due to its positive connotations.

The Bilderfahrzeuge Lecture series 2022/23 – Border Regimes

From the reality of geopolitical boundaries to arguments over national styles and disciplinary limitations, border regimes are a pervasive part of academic work and our everyday world. But what kinds of associations can be made between divisions of scholarship, divisions of artistic production, and divisions of nation states? It is a commonplace to note that knowledge and art transcend boundaries and bring politics with them; but are some forms of knowledge and some forms of art more nationalistically constrained than others?  Today, art historians are prone to celebrate Aby Warburg’s warning against the biases of disciplinary border guards (grenzpolizeiliche Befangenheit), yet scholarly boundaries can also help establish academic rigor and Warburg’s ideal of breaking down boundaries could well be correlated with his distinctly German milieu and its holistic ideal of Bildung. This lecture series brings together art historians working on “border regimes” in every sense of the phrase, querying the positive, negative, and ambiguous dimensions to this ubiquitous concept.  How does this issue apply to different historical and geographic periods of artistic production and how do those differences relate to art historiography both past and present?



Cite this blog post
Stuart Moss (2023, April 17). Difficult Heritage and Nature. Nature as an instrument of visual scepticism and the limits of this design strategy. BILDERFAHRZEUGE. Retrieved March 3, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.58079/m0m3

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