Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Space, Place and Migration in Modern Art - Jutta Vinzent delivers the Salek Minc Lecture on August 7, 2015 at the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, University of Western Australia

Jutta Vinzent delivers the Salek Minc Lecture (2015)

This year’s Salek Minc Lecture was held in conjunction with the exhibition Elise Blumann: An Émigré Artist in Western Australia, 1938–1948 (11 July–19 September 2015) and presented by Dr. Jutta Vinzent, Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art and Visual Culture at the University of Birmingham, UK, and Research Fellow at the Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies at the University of Erfurt, Germany. The lecture can be watched here.

The Lecture:
Thank you very much for having invited me. I'm delighted to be here, and again, thank you for the introduction and I'm humbled and I hope I can deliver.The Lecture:
                     This lecture is indeed held in honor of Salek Minc, a medical practitioner who also published a series of articles on the relationship between medicine and culture. Being a cardiologist, he felt that unresolved emotions suppressed by normed behavior induced tensions, which may form medical problems such as heart disease. For him, contemplation and immersion in art could help resolve such tensions. His view may have been influenced by his own life experiences.
                     Similarly, to many of those mentioned today, he was a Jewish émigré from the 1930s. According to Sally Quinn, who curated and wrote the catalogue for the exhibition Bauhaus on the Swan: Elise Blumann, An Émigré Artist in Western Australia, 1938-1948, Minc also knew Elise Blumann personally in the 1940s through émigré gatherings in Paris.
                     Born in the Russian town of Siedlce, which is today in Poland, in 1905 ... I've brought you a picture of Salek Minc, which is unfortunately small. Minc also knew Elise personally. He was born in 1905, as you can see. Minc started medicine in Italy, graduating in 1925 to become a specialist physician.
                     In 1935, the same year in which National Socialist Germany introduced the so-called Nuremberg Laws defining Jews by ways and not belief, he left for the UK, [00:02:00] where he then joined a tourist vessel as a ship surgeon. Arriving in Perth in 1940, there he continued his passion from the 1920s, namely collecting and promoting the arts.
                     It is thanks to him and the kind invitation of Sally Quinn that I have been able to travel from Germany to Perth to be here today and speak about Space, Place and Migration in Modern Art. That's the exhibition and exhibition catalog for this exhibition in which we are placed, and this is what I'm going to talk about.
                     During the 1930s, thousands of refugees left Nazi Germany. Many went to Britain, so that London became a haven for modern art. It was also in London that "Circle: An International Survey of Constructive Art" was published, a key book on modern art with contributions from leading avant-garde artists. Edited by Naum Gabo, Ben Nicholson and Leslie Martin, the publication dealt foremost with the topic of space, namely in sculpture, painting, architecture and also in design.

                     This lecture will consider these conceptions of space in the 1930s and asks how such interest was reflective of migrants’ experiences of changing places and expanding spaces. It will argue that space was a feature relevant beyond a mere formalist analysis that may stretch to the formulation as I offer to you, which I have termed provisionally as spatial art history. Continue