Annual Conference 2009, Hannover (Germany)

11 years ago

»The Intersection of Art and Technical Innovation«

14 - 17 May 2009

Museum August Kestner, Hannover, Germany

Report

Unter dem Oberthema: "The Intersection of Art and Technical Innovation" fand die diesjährige Tagung der ICDAD - International Committee of Decorative Arts and Design vom 14. bis 17. Mai 2009 in Hannover statt. Als Tagungsort diente das Museum August Kestner, Hannover. Die Organisation der Tagung wurde sowohl inhaltlich wie technisch ganz maßgeblich von den deutschen Mitgliedern von ICDAD und des ICDAD-Board, allen voran Dr. Wolfgang Schepers, Direktor des Museums August Kestner in Hannover, und Dr. Petra Krutisch, der Schatzmeisterin von ICDAD und Leiterin der Möbelsammlung des Germanischen Nationalmuseums in Nürnberg, gemeinsam mit Dr. Ines Wagemann übernommen.

Nach dem Meeting 2004 im DHM in Berlin war dies das zweite Mal, dass ICDAD in Deutschland tagte und damit auch dem hohen Anteil von Mitgliedern aus dem deutschsprachigen Raum Tribut zollte. Ein wohldurchdachtes viertägiges Programm bot den Teilnehmern der Tagung Einblicke in die spezifischen Qualitäten der Kunstlandschaft an der Leine.

25 Fachkollegen aus Deutschland, Finnland, Griechenland, Kroatien, Norwegen, Österreich, Russland und der Schweiz und den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika nahmen an der Konferenz teil, die sich thematisch einer Kernfrage der angewandten Kunst und des Design widmete: Inwieweit beeinflusst der technische Fortschritt die Entwicklung der "angewandten Künste"? Lectures zum Oberthema ließen die durch geschichtliche und nationale Prägung jeweils spezifischen Positionen der Fachkollegen klar werden. Sämtliche Abstracts dazu sind auf dieser Wesite abzurufen.

Das Besichtigungsprogramm brachte den Teilnehmern Highlights der angewandten Kunst und des Design in Niedersachsen näher. Dabei spannte sich der Bogen von aktuellen Positionen in Ausstellungen wie der aktuellen Präsentation "Zu Gast" im Museum August Kestner und dem Designzugang der Firma Wilkhahn bis zu den Objekten des Mittellalters, etwa den weltberühmten Tapisserien und Truhen aus dem Kloster Wienhausen. Besichtigungen in Hannover und in Celle sowie der Besuch der von Walter Gropius geplanten Fabrik für die Firma Fagus in Aalfeld an der Leine, gegenwärtig im Antragsverfahren für die Erklärung zum Weltkulturerbe der UNESCO, dokumentierten die sehr vitalen Bemühungen um angewandte Kunst und Design in Niedersachsen. Dabei waren die Führungen der Fachkollegen vor Ort ein sehr willkommener Anknüpfungspunkt für weiterführende Diskussionen und den Austausch unter Fachkollegen, der zu neuen Einschätzungen mancher Objekte, in jedem Fall aber zu einem Informationsgewinn für Besucher wie Wissenschaftler vor Ort führte.

Programme

Hanover, Museum August Kestner (Museum A.K.)
Trammplatz 3
D-30159 Hannover
Tel. +511 16842120
museum-august-kestner@hannover-stadt.de
www.museum-august-kestner.de


Wednesday, 13 May 2009

18.30 Opening

"Zu Gast -
4000 Jahre Gastgewerbe"


Museum August Kestner
  The exhibition tells the story of 4000 years of hospitality.
More than 300 items from 20 loaners will be exhibited.
The exhibition was realised together with the Museum of Erfurt and the Deutsches Klingenmuseum Solingen.


Thursday, 14 May 2009

10.00 - 11.00 Registration,
Coffee, Tea
11.00 - 11.45 Welcome and Opening:
  Marlis Drewermann, Kultur- und Schuldezernentin der Landeshauptstadt Hannover
  Annette Rein, ICOM Germany, Member of the Board
  Wolfgang Schepers, Director of Museum August Kestner
  Rainald Franz, President of ICDAD
11.45 - 13.00 Lectures, 1st Panel:
  Dedo von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk, Dusseldorf: Distilling Glass. The Influence of Alchemy on Glass Technology of the Late 17th Century
  Ludmila Dementieva, Moscow: Art and Technologies in Russian decorative steel works
13.00 - 14.00 Lunch
14.00 - 15.00 Visit to the Museum A.K. (Egyptian Collection, Numismatics, Ancient Cultures, Applied Arts and Design)
15.00 - 16.00 Lectures, 2nd Panel:
  Nela Tarbuk, Zagreb: The interaction of art and technology in furniture production
  Olga Loginova, Moscow: The Sculptor N. A. Stepanov and his sculptural cartoon in the collection of the Moscow State Theatrical Museum Bahrushin (GTSTM of A. A. Bahrushin)
16.15 Departure from the museum to the Royal Gardens of Herrenhausen by Tram No. 4 or 5 (Start "Aegidientorplatz", Direction "Stöcken", Stop: "Herrenhäuser Gärten")
 
  Royal Gardens of Hanover Herrenhausen
Electress Sophie, who had Grosser Garten laid out between 1696 and 1714, said, "The garden is my life." Herrenhausen Palace, the summer residence of the Royal House of Hanover, was destroyed in the Second World War; a reconstruction is planned for the near future. The splendours of court life are still evident in the glorious garden, the Gallery with its frescoed Baroque banqueting hall, and the unique historical hedge theatre.
A fascinating modern addition is the interior of the Grotto, transformed by French artist Niki de Saint Phalle into a walk-in work of art that radiates happiness and joie de vivre from its brightly-coloured figures, dazzling glass mosaics and polished pebbles.
(www.hannover.de/herrenhausen)
18.30 Eventually visit (not guided) to the Fürstenhaus Herrenhausen
19.00 Dinner in the Restaurant "Schlossküche" Herrenhausen


Friday, 15 May 2009

09.00 Departure from Museum A.K. to the Wilkhahn Company, Eimbeckhausen
 
  Wilkhahn Company, Eimbeckhausen
In 2007 Wilkhahn became 100 years old. Starting with normal wooden chairs the company is now well known for its office furniture in good design. The company invokes the values of the Werkbund, the Bauhaus and the Ulm School of Design, and the main features of its product design are the minimum, durability and the ecological sustainability use of materials.
Architecture and social impacts are other points of interest in this company, which is still in family possession.
(www.wilkhahn.com)
10.00 - 10.30 Welcome and introduction Wilkhahn
10.30 - 12.15 Visit to the production and exhibition "Walter Pabst - Designer" (in two groups)
12.15 - 13.15 Snacks and drinks offered by Wilkhahn
13.15 Departure back to Hanover
14.30 - 16.30 Lectures, 3rd Panel:
  Wolfgang Schepers, Hanover: Plastics in form. About new materials and product design
  Martina Pall, Graz: The intersection of art and technical innovation - Cast Iron
  Silvia Barisione, Genoa: Art and technical Innovation in the works of the Italian Futurist Movement
  Rainald Franz, Vienna: "Future technologies" in the Field of the Decorative Arts
16.30 - 17.00 Coffee Break
17.00 - 18.00 Market Place
18.00 - 19.00 General Assembly
20.00 Dinner at the Restaurant Leineschloss


Saturday, 16 May 2009

09.00 Departure from Museum A.K.
10.00 Arrival at monastery Wienhausen
 
  Convent of Wienhausen
Wienhausen was found as Cistercian nunnery in 1233 and became a convent for protestant ladies after the reformation in Lower Saxony lasting till today. Only little has been changed since the medieval times, so we get a good impression of the building complex in brick gothic style. Also the furniture, above all a number of chests is extraordinary. In the museum there are among other objects numerous tapestries made with the famous "Klosterstich".
10.30 - 12.30 Guided tour (textiles, furniture)
12.30 Snack in the summer refectory
14.30 Departure for Celle
 
  Town and Castle of Celle
Celle is a picturesque town with half-timbered houses, the former residence of the Guelphes. The Celle castle was built as a fortress and than changed into a castle in the 14th century. Now the castle shows the baroque view of the rebuilding of Duke George Wilhelm in the late 17th century. Beside the new installed state rooms which are worth being discussed there is a chapel from 1485 and a baroque theatre to be visited.
Furthermore there is a collection of silver made in Celle. Due to its high quality it used to be compared with the Augsburg silver. The Silver and also a collection miniature portraits of the 18th century are private donations form a German American couple to the Celle museums.
15.30 - 17.30 Guided tour Celle Castle and Bomann-Museum
17.30 - 18.00 Coffee break
18.00 - 19.00 Walk through the old town of Celle to the Haesler Siedlung,
visit of the Haesler Siedlung
 
  Otto-Haesler-Siedlung, Celle
This housing estate is an example of Bauhaus architecture by the architect Otto Haesler (1880-1962), recently restored and completed with new houses.
18.30 Departure for Wietze
20.00 - 21.30 Farewell Diner, Restaurant "Wildland"
21.30 Departure
22.30 Arrival in Hanover Museum A.K.


Sunday, 17 May 2009

09.00 Departure from Museum A.K. to in Alfeld, Leine
10.00 - 12.00 Guided Tour Fagus-Works
 
  Fagus-Works, Alfeld, Leine
In 1911 Carl Benscheidt commissioned the young architect Walter Gropius to build a new fabric. For the first time a so called curtain wall was realised. The company is still producing shoe models in wood (Fagus = Latin: beech) and plastics. There is also a permanent exhibition (3000 square m) about Gropius' work and the production of shoe models.
12.00 Lunch
12.30 Departure to the Marienburg
 
  Marienburg
Most impressively, Marienburg Castle (Arch. Conrad Wilhelm Hase, 1857 - 1867 raises its distinctive silhouette over the South Western slope of the Marienberg, some 15 km north-westerly of Hildesheim and approx. 20 km south of Hanover. The castle with its many turrets dominates the rolling hills of the valley of the River Leine. The former summer residence of the Guelphs - once a birthday present from the Hanoverian King George V to his wife, Queen Mary - is considered one of the most important neo-Gothic historical buildings in Germany. A variety of different facades, turrets and the multitude of different roof shapes easily cast a spell on the visitor making them part of fairy tale life in a castle.
(www.schloss-marienburg.de, www.welfen.de)
13.30 Guided Tour
15.00 Departure back to Hanover
16.00 Arrival in Hanover

Abstracts

Art and technical Innovation in the works of the Italian Futurist Movement

Silvia Barisione, Genoa

On the occasion of the centenary of the Futurist Manifesto written by Filippo Tom maso Marinetti and published on Le Figaro of Paris on the 20th of February 1909, I would like to lecture on The Intersection of Art and Technical Innovation in the works of the Italian Futurist artists in the field of decorative arts. In a short lecture - at the marketplace - I would like to show how technology influenced their artistic creations especially from a thematic point of view: for example, their ceramic vases reflected their interest in speed and movement in their shapes inspired by the machine age, but their production was still handicraft.

Art and Technologies in Russian decorative steel works

Ludmila Dementieva, Moscow

Iron and steel are hardly recognized as a material for precious objects. There is fascinating collection of precious objects in steel, made by Tula armourers in XVIII-XIX centuries in the State Historical Museum in Moscow. The importance of our collection, which consists of more than 500 items, is in its vide variety of art objects, which were produced in different workshops, slightly organized in a factory. So, it's possible to observe the development and perfecting rare technologies in decorative steelworks.

"Future technologies" in the Field of the Decorative Arts

Rainald Franz, Vienna

“Future technologies” in the Field of the Decorative Arts

Rainald Franz

Dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, the topic of our conference, “The intersection of art and technological innovation” and the lectures we have heard bring us to a crucial question, which dominates our field. The Decorative Arts and even more Design, have always been considered as the spearhead of aesthetic innovation. Because they served as means of epresentation for leading groups within the societies.

“Top people set fashions and others follow as best they can, if they so want”, as Peter Thornton has put it in his book “Form and Decoration. Innovation in the Decorative Arts”. Technological innovation and aesthetic innovation in the Decorative Arts  and Design seem to be entwined, if we take a closer look at some steps within the historic development up to our days.

What does technological innovation mean in connection with the Decorative arts and Design? It means that innovation in our field can also be interpreted as an aesthetic reaction on changes within the material culture. Technological innovation may affect the development of new materials, new techniques for the processing of these materials or changes within the communication.

The term innovation means a new way of doing something. It may refer to incremental, radical, and revolutionary changes in thinking, products, processes, or organizations. A distinction is typically made between invention, an idea made manifest, and innovation, ideas applied successfully. In many fields, something new must be substantially different to be innovative, not an insignificant change, e.g., in the arts, "An important distinction is normally made between invention and innovation. Invention is the first occurrence of an idea for a new product or process, while innovation is the first attempt to carry it out into practice". Innovation normally involves creativity, but must not be identical with it.

Let us take a look at the development of our field of Decorative Arts and Design with a special notion of the ongoing process of technical innovation.

The idea of decorative arts slowly developed out of classical and medieval concepts of art. Greek and Latin writers did not distinguish between the fine and the Decorative Arts, using the word art in general fashion to refer to a skilled craft or science rather than to an inspired creative activity. Poetry, music and painting were considered arts that had to be learned, like weaving and geometry. In these times, no separation was made between technical and aesthetic innovation. However, by the medieval period, two complementary groups of art were distinguished: the liberal versus the mechanical. The conceptual labour of the liberal arts was placed above the physical labour of the mechanical. This concept placed technological innovation in both fields: the idea in the liberal, the execution of the innovative object or product in the field of the mechanical arts.

The liberal arts encompassed intellectual activities and skills, such as grammar, rhetoric, astronomy, as well as affiliated disciplines of music and poetry. The mechanial arts on the other hand, included manual activities, ranging from weaving, wood carving and pottery to navigation and armament, in which subgroup were also found painting, sculpture and architecture.

The medieval classification of the arts is a distant ancestor of our contemporary one. During the intervening centuries, there grew up yet another notion of art that bound painting, sculpture and architecture together with music and poetry. Medieval theorists had originally separated the three visual arts (as they are commonly called today) from poetry and music by assigning the former to the mechanical arts and the latter to the more highly regarded liberal arts. However, Italian Renaissance artists and humanists challenged this medieval classification, claiming for the visual arts the same intellectual status as that of poetry and music, and leaving behind among the mechanical arts what would become known as decorative arts.

Renaissance theorists reinforced the intellectual and artistic claims of the visual arts by establishing academies devoted exclusively to painting, sculpture and architecture, the three „arts of Design“ (arti dell´ disegno). With the help of these academies, the visual arts acquired an identity distinct from that of the mechanical arts. One that paved the way for the later notion of fine arts. The changes of theory, initiated by Renaissance writers culminated two centuries later in the full acceptance of the fine arts as an artistic group possessing its own theoretical principles. Renaissance art theorists had furthered the conceptual, and even imaginative, claims of visual artists, but had not linked these claims to a concept of beauty in art. A theory of fine arts proper, one that tied the theory of beauty to the visual as well as to the literary and musical appreciation of art, emerged clearly only in the eighteenth century, when such thinkers as Shaftesbury, Burke, Baumgarten and Kant developed new philosophical principles for judging artistic beauty. The new theories of aesthetics in turn provided the conceptual framework within which to establish a sepertate notion of art applicable only to painting, sculpture, architecture, poetry and music. As activities devoted to the creation of beauty, the fine arts were theoretically absolved from the moral and practical demands still placed on the other arts and sciences. This transformation in eighteenth-century thought introduced a theoretical border between the fine arts and all other arts. Although this distincton may have helped to clarify the nature of those activities now considered the fine arts, it left behind an ill-assorted group of activities under the medieval term mechanical arts. In the eighteenth century, art theorists began turning their attention to these as well, on the presupposition that they were arts, but of a lower kind. The growing theoretical interest in the mechanical arts was also stimulated by the expanded social and economic role of manufactured goods. By the end of the century, practioners and critics alike were struggling to understand the artistic nature of such manufactured, machinemade products, and they recognized the absence of a suitable definition for artistic activities outside the realm of fine arts.

These initial eighteenth-century discussions were so perceptive that they set the groundwork for future discussions. The German historian Friedrich August Krubsacius, for example, developed the first history of decoration, which despite its title, “Reflection on the Origin, Growth and Decline of Decoration” in the Fine Arts (Gedanken von dem Ursprung, Wachstum, und Verfall der Verzierungen in den schönen Künsten,(1759) was in fact more pertinent to the decorative than to the fine arts. Around the same time Denis Diderot and Jean Le Rond d´Alembert stressed the beneficial and practical role of the mechanical arts, praising them at the expense of the fine arts in their Encyclopedia (1751). A few decades later, the German philosopher Karl Philipp Moritz attempted to tie a theory of ornament to a general concept of artistic beauty in his remarkable  “Preliminary Ideas on Theory of Ornament” Vorbegriffe zur Theorie der Ornamente (1793). Included by Moritz´ theories and reacting to the rapid growth of mechanized production, even Goethe took up the question of relative merits of hand-made and machine-made decorative art based on three main elements: utility, materials and production and decoration.

Whereas eighteenth-century writers were content to explore these features individually, nineteenth century theorists focused on the relation of these constituent elements, in order to grasp the workings of decorative art´s nature as a whole.

The 1851 Great Exhibition was not only the first international display of technical innovation and crafts, but also of decorative art and as such became the focus of much European and American writing on Decorative Arts. In the wake of the 1851 exhibition, the British, follwed by Austrians, Germans, and French, implemented a national policy of arts education intended to improve the application of art to manufacture. In turn this policy led to the founding of the first decorative art museums, schools and publications throughout Europe. British writers like John Ruskin, Owen Jones and Willam Morris dominated the field, while their German colleagues like Gottfried Semper developed more scholarly concepts of the Decorative Arts. And, in some cases, theory of Decorative Arts opposed to technical innovation in industry for the sake of innovation in the social field by returning to artistic, craftsmenlike production: this is an idea of putting an end to manufactural innovation techniques to be found in many reformative movements like Arts and Crafts, Werkbund or Wiener Werkstätte, while others searched for the ideal design for the latest in technical innovation, as the Bauhaus, De Stijl or Constructivism did.

Modern design has nowadays become part of technical innovation, no new technical innovative car is imaginable without a suitable design anymore and designers have become innovators in technical issues themselves, like, for example Ross Lovegrove. It is hard to draw a line between the industrial Designer, only dedicated to the saleable product and the innovative artistic designer, who uses technical innovation for aesthetic reasons.

Technical innovation always needs form, a new aesthetic is the best form to express the progress in the eye of the viewer, without new design, technical innovation is almost invisible. On the other hand design needs the challenge of new technologies to come to new solutions.

The creative industries nowadays depend as much on the technological innovation as on the aesthetic visualisation of new products and design is a key for consumer interest.

Distilling Glass. The Influence of Alchemy on Glass Technology of the Late 17th Century

Dedo von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk, Dusseldorf

In the late 17th century, European glassmakers scored two major successes. They produced vessels that resembled rock crystal, and they manufactured red vessels that looked as if they had been carved out of colossal rubies. These achievements required knowledge and experience to select the right raw materials and to understand their interactions in the batch, along with all of their favorable and undesirable effects. A glassworks, with its ongoing production, was not a suitable environment for pure research. Instead, glassmakers reaped the benefits of experiments that were conducted elsewhere - in the laboratories of alchemists.
This subject has recently been explored in an exhibition that ran at The Corning Museum of Glass from June 2008 to January 2009, and the results are published in the respective catalog: Glass of the Alchemists. Lead Crystal - Gold Ruby, 1650-1750.
The lecture aims to present this project and to encourage to find similar interactions in other fields of decorative arts, such as ceramics and gold- and silverwork.

The Sculptor N. A. Stepanov and his sculptural cartoon in the collection of the Moscow State Theatrical Museum Bahrushin (GTSTM of A. A. Bahrushin)

Olga Loginova, Moscow

How do the Art Requirements cause the development of technologies? N. A. Stepanov succeed more in sculpture than in painting and woodcut, because the sculpture was then the more mass and demanded genre in art. A wide popularity of the artist was ensured by production of the sculptural cartoons. A lack of money after retirement gave him an idea of making of the sculptural portraits-cartoons. Stepanov brought the home-making of portraits-cartoons on mass production level. The great demand on these cartoons managed him to make a special workshop and to employ moulders. At first these sculptures were home-made, then responding to a growing demand level, the production received a serial mass character.

The intersection of art and technical innovation - Cast Iron

Martina Pall, Graz

The technical innovation concerning cast iron starts at the end of the 18th century with the invention of the cupola furnace where pig iron is resmelted and the foundry gets independent of the steel mill. The appearance of profane iron objects was determinded by the best sculptors, architects and modelers of the time as Schinkel, Rauch, Posch or Kallide. The Hanns Schell Collection, with more than 3.000 objects in cast iron tries to connect the traders, collectors and museums which have their focus on Cast Iron. Last year we made a trip to a modern iron-foundry and have been engaged as trainees by the company Buderus in Germany. In October we are planing in Graz the first international meeting for museums, collectors and friends of cast iron with 10 lectures about the issue.

Plastics in form. About new materials and product design

Wolfgang Schepers, Hanover

There is no question that new materials enabled designers to find new forms for products. The short lecture wants to draw your attention on the relation between form function and material - the three principles of designing new objects. Around one hundred years ago the first totally synthetic plastics were invented: Bakelite by Leo Hendrik Bakeland. A lot of other polymers followed up to our days. Without this material mass production of common days products would have never been possible. The lecture starts with Celluloid and guides finally to new techniques like air moulding to save material which is still mostly gained from oil.

The interaction of art and technology in furniture production

Nela Tarbuk, Zabgreb

This short presentation is intended to recapitulate, on the examples of furniture mostly from the Museum of Arts and Crafts holdings, the inter-relationship between the idea expressed in their design and the given technological development. There is emphasis on the key moments in furniture development throughout history which led to the high quality of craftsmanship and aesthetic achievement. Master craftsmen played an essential role, combining their high level of artistic expression with their important role in achieving technological advance in the design of artistic furniture. As manual work died out and industrial production became paramount a new chapter opened in which the survival of artistic individualism came into question, but which also brought revolutionary changes that enabled high technological development and the use of new materials of intrinsic value.