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Professorship for Medieval and Modern Art History

Since the first exhibition catalog on the subject of light in 17th century painting at the Residenzgalerie Salzburg in 1991, some 30 catalogs have dealt with painters such as Ruisdael, Rembrandt, Lastman, de Hooch, Vermeer and the various genres of Dutch art.

Since the first engagement with the methods of art history (Kunsthistoriker in eigener Sache 1990), questions concerning the approach to the material (visual sources as well as the materiality of the works) have been discussed again and again.

Within the framework of the museum's activities, works by the Hamburg, Westphalian (Conrad von Soest) and Göttingen masters of the early 15th century have already been the focus of research. The analysis of narrative strategies on the one hand and painting-technical questions on the other hand characterize the research.

Especially the exhibition projects of the last 10 years (Dresden, Leipzig, Haina), often carried out together with students, were dedicated in research and design to the often still completely unknown female artists in the second half of the 18th century. The focus is on the working conditions of the women painters and their reception in the media of the time.

Project "Uncovered" (WS 2015/16) on disappeared female artists in the context of the Kassel Art Academy of the 18th century.

The Tischbein family of artists is not only included in the comprehensive handbook on the history of the Kassel Art Academy from its foundation in 1777 to 1830 from 2017/ erw. Aufl. 2019. The three websites, which are hosted and continuously maintained as a contribution of the University of Kassel under LAGIS, concern, in addition to the Kunstakademie Kassel

and previously the Collegium Carolinum as well as in detail the artist family Tischbein itself. In addition, smaller exhibitions regularly show the latest research findings.

Link to person and publication list: Prof. Dr. Martina Sitt

Professorship Modern Art History

The subject of this research focus is the reconstruction of the discursive and social preconditions for the change in the exhibition practice of art in museums from the emergence of the institution in the 18th century to the present. After the dissertation focused on the emergence of the white cube in the early 20th century, the current emphasis is on the development of innovative museum exhibition practices in the post-World War II period.

Project seminar "Museum History in Kassel" (SS 2012, WS 2012/13) for the creation of a website.

The Transdisciplinary Research Center for Exhibition Studies / Transdisciplinary Research Center for Exhibition Studies (TRACES) was founded in fall 2019 and bundles interdisciplinary research on exhibition studies that is developing at the University of the Arts and the departments Architecture, Urban and Landscape Planning, Humanities and Cultural Studies and Social Sciences . At the center of this research is an expanded concept of exhibition that analyzes public spaces of action and sites of knowledge production. The reason for the founding of TRACES is the establishment of a "documenta institute" in Kassel, which the state of Hesse, the city of Kassel, documenta gGmbH and the University of Kassel have agreed to. Prof. Dr. Alexis Joachimides is the managing director of TRACES.

This research focus examines the changes in the social roles assigned to artists during the 18th and 19th centuries. With the emergence of the modern market society, the perception of the artist depends on his ability to negotiate a social place for himself. This results in a pluralization of habitus forms that he can appropriate as part of his self-dramatization.

In this research focus, the emergence of the modern metropolis in the "bourgeois age" is traced using the example of its earliest representatives. During the so-called "saddle period" from the later 18th to the earlier 19th century, the new way of life and urban form of the tenement city emerged, which has characterized the structure of the modern city ever since and continues to do so today.

Link to person and publication list: Prof. Dr. Alexis Joachimides

Professorship of Art History (20th/21st century)

Here, the entire course of development of the fine arts, design and architecture of the 20th and 21st centuries is represented. Within the framework of the critical mediation of these contents, it is important to introduce current questions of the specialist discourses into teaching and research. In the course of this, in project seminars and often in cooperation with the museums, exhibition houses and archives located in Kassel on the one hand and university disciplines on the other, the problem areas raised are developed transdisciplinarily and visualized, among other things, in exhibitions.

Here, the International Summer School and Conference 'Critical Scenography' (VW Foundation), research project 'The Bioscopic Space' (Fritz Thyssen Foundation), research project 'From Object to Exhibit' (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) are to be mentioned. Within this framework, VR reconstructions of the documenta 1955, the International Art Exhibition 1926 in Dresden and the exhibition 'Film and Photo' (Room 1) 1929 in Stuttgart have also and especially been created. In the realization of these projects, which was accomplished in a team, the experiences as a former curator of the art collections of the Ruhr University Bochum and freelance curator (curation, co-curator, curatorial support) at various institutions in Hanover, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Weimar, Dresden, Eindhoven and New York are an empirical basis.

The introduction of virtual reality technology into art science teaching since 2017 is another innovation of the Professorship of Art Science, which - together with Simon-Lennert Raesch (Software Engineering Research Group) - was awarded the Hessian University Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2019.

The close proximity to professional practice, internationalization and interdisciplinarity (art, design, visual communication and humanities disciplines) are central criteria of the incumbent, which have led to further activities: Multi-year exchange projects with Northern Iraq (Sulemaniya Art Academy) and Israel (Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem and White City Center, Tel Aviv) for students and faculty of the participating institutions.

The interdisciplinary research project 'From Object to Exhibit' (2018-2021), funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, sets itself the  goal of investigating the relationship between object and staging in exhibitions of the 20th and 21st centuries, using the case studies International Art Exhibition 1926 in Dresden and Space for Constructive Art (El Lissitzky, 1926).

The project's collaborative partners - art studies (Kassel), exhibition design (Düsseldorf), and museum (Dresden) - are researching in different ways the interactions of the exhibit and its staging in the context of exhibitions, conferences, reconstructions, archival research, and installations.

The Influence of Perceptual Psychology and Film on the Design of the 'Space for Constructive Art' (El Lissitzky, International Art Exhibition 1926 in Dresden).

A research project (2016-2018) in close cooperation with the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Albertinum, Neue Meister): Dr. Hilke Wagner and Dr. Birgit Dalbajewa 

The Theses of Siegfried Giedion and László Moholy-Nagy on a New Visual Culture in the 1920s. With the financial support of the Central Research Funding of the University of Kassel. Over 90 years ago, Bauhaus artist and media pioneer László Moholy-Nagy set up Room 1 of the International Werkbund Exhibition 'Film and Photo' (FiFo) in Stuttgart. This legendary exhibition presented the most notable representatives of modern international photography, which today goes by the formula 'Neues Sehen' or 'Bauhaus photography'. Room 1 of the FiFo had a special task: the aim was to review the history and present of photography in an almost encyclopedic manner with the help of over 300 selected exhibits, in order to sketch the future of this type of image in the subsequent show rooms. This research project is the continuation of the art-scientific research and virtual as well as material reconstruction of Room 1 of the FiFo and is carried out in cooperation with Dr. Ute Famulla. A network of experts frames the research that has been carried out and is planned: ETH/gta Zurich, Prof. Dr. Oliver Lugon (University of Lausanne, CH), Götheborg Art Academy (Sweden), Kunsthaus Zurich, Nuremberg University of Applied Sciences, Prof. Dr. Christoph Schaden.

Re_Construction of a Spatial Artwork of the Classical Avant-Garde (2007-2009) - a research and reconstruction project by Prof. Dr. Kai-Uwe Hemken (Kunsthochschule Kassel, Art Studies) and Prof. Jakob Gebert (Kunsthochschule Kassel, Product Design) in project association with: Kunsthalle Erfurt, Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau, Kunsthalle Schirn Frankfurt/M., Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven, Netherlands and Hattula Moholy-Nagy, New Haven (USA). 'Space of the Present' was most recently on view as part of the László Moholy-Nagy retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum NY (2016). The project focuses on the re_construction of a spatial artwork, the 'Space of the Present' by László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946). The designs for the environment, which was not realized at the time, date back to 1930, when the former master at the State Bauhaus in Dessau was commissioned by Alexander Dorner (Provinzialmuseum Hannover) to design a space for contemporary art and culture for the modern museum concept. Moholy-Nagy had delivered a design for a museum space that became a milestone in the history of modern art and modern exhibition design: it represents a pioneering work for the art of the environment, new media art, exhibition design and museum history. This spatial work of art was realized on the occasion of the Bauhaus anniversary in 2009. The extensive research was realized in the course of a cooperation between art science (Prof. Hemken) and product design/exhibition design (Prof. Gebert) at the Kunsthochschule Kassel in association with a number of researchers and institutions in the period 2007-2009. Gebert and Hemken were responsible for the conception, management and coordination.

The documenta of 1955 is still considered an important milestone in the exhibition history of modernism. Its initiator Arnold Bode, who together with Werner Haftmann, Kurt Martin, Alfred Hentzen and Hans Mettel formed the curatorial team, planned to set up an art show on a large scale that presented modern works of the highest standard and of international origin. At the same time, the exhibition was a high point in the effort to establish a new democratic public sphere in the Federal Republic of Germany, after National Socialism. The research and development project is part of a comprehensive examination of the first documenta by Kai-Uwe Hemken. (Among other things, the scenography and discursivity of the first documenta was dedicated in joint courses in a cooperative project with German Studies at the University of Kassel (Prof. Greif) and the ASL (Prof. Hennecke) funded by the University of Kassel). Through the support of the teaching innovation of the University of Kassel, this research focus could be taken to the next level: Virtual reconstruction allows a new insight into the curatorial scenography of documenta 1955 (VR video walk).

The history of the Kunsthochschule Kassel has not yet been fully researched. This applies in particular to the period from 1918-1968, which is characterized by great dynamism: November Revolution, Weimar Republic, National Socialism, democracy and reconstruction, 68 Revolution. This extremely changeable political history has also left its mark on the Kunsthochschule Kassel. However, an investigation of the effects on the Kunsthochschule and the related processes, personnel and structures has not yet been undertaken. The source situation is precarious, since a not insignificant part of archival records was destroyed during World War II.

The research project addresses this desideratum and will examine the following stages of the institution for the first time: In the 1920s, the Kunsthochschule Kassel was influenced by the art movement 'Neue Sachlichkeit' and was thus considered a progressive academy. After the official closure of the art academy for reasons of economy, only a class for painting (Kay Nebel) was maintained, but already in 1935 on the part of the Reich Ministry for Science, Education and National Education (REM) in Berlin, a scholarship program for young talents of National Socialist art was established. This program was headed by Prof. Kay Nebel and Dr. Ludwig Thormaehlen (Landesmuseum Kassel). Thus, the Kunsthochschule Kassel was by no means unencumbered with regard to the National Socialist period. After 1949, i.e. after the reopening of the art academy, which was titled 'Werkakademie', the democratic new beginning began, with the State Bauhaus as a model. The new beginning of the Werkakademie was made by progressive professors: Hans Leistikow, Arnold Bode, Teo Otto, Fritz Winter, Ewald Dülberg, and others. Uproar at the art academy formed in the 1960s on the part of the students, who demanded greater influence on the concerns of the art academy.

In 1994-97, the Institute of Art History at the Ruhr University Bochum set up a research and development project on the subject of 'EDP and Art History', after the Volkswagen Foundation, in association with the Bildarchiv Foto Marburg, had announced a funding program of the same name and decided positively on an application by the Bochum Institute in this regard. The Bochum project, which from then on was in association with a number of other art history institutes in Germany, was headed by Prof. Dr. Reinhard Schleier, while the team was primarily determined by Dr. Hubertus Kohle and Dr. Kai-Uwe Hemken. As curator of the art collections of the Ruhr University, Kai-Uwe Hemken was responsible for both the computer-assisted inventory of the entire university holdings of modern art and for more experimental sub-projects of a research nature that Kai-Uwe Hemken had developed. These include the creation of a database on action art (Happening, Fluxus) in North Rhine-Westphalia since the 1960s and the development of an ICONCLASS system for art with abstract formal language. The subprojects on action and abstract art require, in addition to the recording of corresponding events and case studies, a typologization and the definition of a form-language matrix, so that they can be transferred into a retrievable systematization (database) for both modern artistic expression media. The project-specific research work was accompanied by a critical review and reflection on the interactions between art and new media, which has found expression in publications by Kai-Uwe Hemken, among others. 

Link to person and publication list: Prof. Dr. Kai-Uwe Hemke

Professorship Art and Knowledge

The subject area Art and Knowledge is located at the interface between art history, architectural history and theory, and the history of knowledge. Historically, it primarily considers the period from the 18th century to the present, adopting a decidedly global perspective on art, architecture, and knowledge. This includes such fundamentally different areas as Marie-Antoinette's garden, the design of mobile exhibition systems, or processes of value production in contemporary art, all of which are characterized by a specific relationship between art and knowledge.

The professorship is part of the documenta Institute. The focus is on the examination of practices and forms of exhibition and display, which are studied in their historical depth, specific materiality, spatiality, and social function. The subject matter is not only art exhibitions, but also, among other things, chambers of wonder, gardens, or shopping malls. Currently, the focus is particularly on the examination of supposedly "incidental" aspects of the exhibition, such as infrastructures and logistics.

Conceptual Art, which emerged in the 1960s, claimed to privilege the mere idea over an object-like work and thus took a momentous step for the concept of art and work that continues to reverberate into the present. In addition to dealing with exhibition and publication formats of Conceptual Art and the question of the political nature of art, the current focus here is on an examination of the artist group Art & Language.

Link to person and publication list: Prof. Dr. Felix Vogel (CHD)

Professorship for Philosophy

The focus of teaching and research is dedicated to the life and work of the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 - 1951) as well as the editorial supervision of the yearbook "Wittgenstein-Studien. International Yearbook for Wittgenstein Research".

The aim of this focus is to reconstruct the aesthetic thought of the members of the so-called 'Bloomsbury Group', whose artistic practice and aesthetic theory formation contributed to cultural modernization in Great Britain at the beginning of the 20th century. In addition to well-known representatives of the group such as Virginia Woolf, Lytton Strachey and Maynard Keynes, the central figures are Roger Fry and Clive Bell.

In Sigmund Freud's scientific œuvre, cultural theoretical considerations play a central role, while art theoretical considerations play a rather subordinate role. In addition to dealing with the work of the founder of psychoanalysis himself, the research work, which is partly undertaken in interdisciplinary cooperation with art education, strives to elaborate the basic features of a psychoanalytic theory of art.

In the 'analytic philosophy' that has dominated the Anglo-Saxon world in particular, a fruitful tradition of the philosophy of image and art has emerged since the mid-1950s, the historical reconstruction of which - from Morris Weitz and Paul Ziff to Richard Wollheim, Nelson Goodman, and Arthur Danto to recent developments - forms the center of this focus.

Link to person and publication list: Prof. Dr. Stefan Majetschak

TRACES - Transdisciplinary Research Center for Exhibition Studies

The Transdisciplinary Research Center for Exhibition Studies (TRACES), which will be founded in the fall of 2019, bundles the existing research on documenta and exhibition studies at the Kunsthochschule Kassel/Universität Kassel across all departments. It is thus a nationally and internationally unique institution for exhibition research.

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