Vernacular modernisms, nostalgia and the avant-garde
CRAACE workshop, 6–7 December 2019
East Slovak Gallery, Košice (Slovakia)
In the decades before 1918 there was a vibrant debate over the nature of ‘national art’ in Central Europe. For many this was embodied in folk art and culture. By 1914, this idea was increasingly challenged by avant-garde interests in the metropolis. After the War, however, a return to folk art and regionalism was revisited and gained increasing importance in the decades leading up the Second World War. Within a broad artistic landscape, folk art and culture was used to search for a fundamental essence of human culture, as in the case of the Hungarian painters Lajos Vajda and Dezső Korniss; to create a ‘national style’ with reinterpretations of folk art, as in 1920s Czechoslovakia; and to seek renewal outside a lost imperial capital, like in Austria.
Merged with modern culture, reinterpretations of folk art developed as manifold ‘vernacular modernisms’ which emphasised the importance of local tradition in the post-imperial environment. Which ideals formed the core of these ‘vernacular modernisms’? What was the relationship between ‘vernacular modernism’ and the avant-garde? How did regional and cosmopolitan approaches to art and architecture overlap and influence each other?
As part of the ERC-funded project Continuity / Rupture? Art and Architecture in Central Europe 1918–1939 this workshop re-examines the place the avant-garde is granted in art history by looking at a broader artistic landscape that to a large extent engaged in folk art and culture. Considering intersections and overlaps between the avant-garde, ‘moderate’, and ‘reactionary’ developments in modern art and architecture, it challenges traditional hierarchies and assesses the role that a renewed attention to folk art played in the formation of a multi-faceted artistic environment across Central Europe.
Proposals (300 words) are invited for 30-minute papers that examine topics such as:
- Folk art as a resource for Central European Modernism after 1918
- Regionalism in interwar art and architecture
- Folk art and identity politics in interwar modernism
- The fragmentation of Central European cultural centres after 1918
- The emancipation of regional galleries and museums
- The relationship between regional and central artistic networks
- Reactionary modernism vs. renewal through folk culture
Discussants will be confirmed shortly.
The deadline for submission of proposals is 1 July 2019. Submissions should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org