25 January, Friday (2019)
Marco Pasi (University of Amsterdam) :
The art of esoteric posthumousness
Focusing on the term of “esoteric posthumousness”, Marco Pasi’s lecture starts with the references from recent history investigating the connection between spirituality and modern art.
Sixten Ringbom’s seminal book The Sounding Cosmos: a study in the spiritualism of Kandinsky and the genesis of abstract painting (1970); The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890-1985 exhibition at LACMA (1986); and Enchanted Modernities: Theosophy, modernism and the Arts c. 1875-1960 symposium (2013) hosted by The University of Amsterdam, are some of the reference points indicating that art historians should not neglect the strong impacts of spirituality in the formation of abstract art.
Pasi defines posthumousness as “the inability or unwillingness to have one’s artistic work promoted and recognized during one’s lifetime, which projects the work into a temporal limbo of obscurity that may last decades or even forever.” Posthumousness can arise when one is unable to integrate in the art system, or uninterested to be a part of it. The works of Olga Froebe-Kapteyn (b. 1881; d. 1962), Ithell Colquhoun (b. 1906; d. 1988), and recently discovered Luigi Pericle (b. 1916; d. 2001), the books of Fernando Pessoa (b. 1888; d. 1935), and the music of Giacinto Scelsi (b. 1905; d. 1988) could be analysed under this category