Prof. Dr Magdalene Bushart, Henrike Haug
Material and technology are more than the "coefficients of friction within the overall product" that Alois Riegl once wanted to degrade them to; rather, they have had a lasting influence on the history of the arts. Technical innovations not only made new production processes possible, but also always opened up new possibilities of design. At the same time, they had an impact on other techniques, media and genres - think of the role that copperplate engraving played for woodcut and painting in the 15th century or the model function that sculpture assumed for the development and formulation of intaglio printing. Interdependencies of this kind are being investigated by a project on the history of artistic techniques at the Institute of Art History and Historical Urban Studies at the TU Berlin. The aim is to analyse parallel phenomena in the pictorial genres through the centuries, to focus on the innovative potential of different processes and to ask about their significance for transformations in style, iconography and function.
The project will begin with a conference that will initially approach the topic for the period between 1430 and 1550, the period in which differences between artistic concepts and their practical execution first became tangible. On the one hand, there were experiments with new materials and processes - the increasing use of oil-based binders, the introduction and further development of printmaking processes, the rediscovery of large-format bronze casting and hollow casting - on the other hand, there were art-theoretical models that programmatically demanded a dematerialisation of art and thus pursued the marginalisation of craft and technical aspects. In this field of tension, the role of artistic techniques will be examined and the relationship between technical and artistic innovations will be investigated: How do technical innovations influence established forms of artistic creation - within genres, but also across genres? What new visual experiences do they enable, what new aesthetic standards do they set? What adaptations do artists have to make? What role does the idea of progress play - is it thematised or concealed in the artwork? How do new processes reflect themselves? How are they reflected in art theoretical literature?