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Second bi-annual conference of the European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies (EAM) 9-11 September 2010, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland

The second EAM conference aims to revise the relation between high and low culture in the European avant-garde and modernism. Although we welcome all scrutinising this relationship, we are particularly interested in innovative research on the following aspects:

1. Popular culture’s influence on the textual and artistic production of avant-garde and modernism has been up for debate for quite a while. What forms and themes in popular culture inspired the poetic and aesthetic agenda of modernism and the avant-garde? Which representational tactics from popular culture informing the avant-garde and modernism still require attention today? What intermedial aspects still warrant scrutiny in this context? How were the avant-garde and modernism received in the popular press and other popular media? And what is the role of kitsch in this constellation?

2. To what extent were modernist and avant-garde poetics and aesthetics determined by consumer culture? Which aspects of avant-garde and modernist practice affirmed expectations and laws governing the market? How did individual writers and groups, theoreticians and art practitioners resist commodity culture? Are there notable shifts in avant-garde writers’ and artists’ attitude toward capitalism from the post-war era onward, and how do these relate to shifts within capitalism itself? What do avant-gardes and modernisms from European regions in which capitalism developed somewhat slower teach us in this context? The tension between the avant-garde/modernism and capitalism was extremely varied across Europe given economic, social and political differences. Do these differences allow for alternate histories of the European avant-garde and modernism, marking not just an East/West divide but bringing into scope the specificity of the so-called Eastern bloc as well?

3. To what extent have the avant-garde and modernism themselves become part and parcel of popular and consumer culture? In what ways do avant-garde and modernist practice and aesthetics define the outlook of popular culture today? What processes and institutions led (and lead) to the incorporation of the avant-garde and modernism in the canon, mainstream culture and the international art market? How do more recent avant-gardes attempt to resist such incorporation and maintain part of modernism’s and the avant-garde’s legacy?

Above: Tadeusz Kantor, Panoramic Sea Happening, Osieki, 1967, photo: Eustachy Kossakowski