M+M Colloquium: Enrique Ramirez and Emmelyn Butterfield-Rosen
November 18, 2010
"Negation of Ground: The Backdrop of l'Apres-midi d'un Faune"
Emmelyn Butterfield Rosen is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Art and Archeology. Her talk will focus on the position of Leon Bakst's painted backdrop within Vaslav Nijinsky's 1912 ballet L'Apres-midi d'un Faune. She situates the dance in relation to a resurgence of theoretical interest, at the turn of the century, in relief sculpture as as a privileged medium for understanding the role of form in artistic representation. She argues that the relationship between Nijinsky's dancers and Bakst's painted backdrop both absorbs and subverts certain assumptions about the "neutral" status of ground in relief representation. Her dissertation, titled The Disposition of Figures in Modern Art 1886-1912, addresses the changing valuation of the human figure in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century modernism by focusing on the emergence of new conventions for posing and positioning figures in art. Organized as a sequence of case-studies on Seurat's Les Poseuses (1886-1888), Gustav Klimt's Beethovenfries (1902), and Vaslav Nijinsky's L'Apres-midi d'un Faune (1912), the dissertation interrogates the motivations for, and significance of, strictly frontal, lateral, and dorsal presentations of the figure within and across these works. She argues that the appearance of frontal, lateral, and dorsal postures within modernism indicates a rejection of the kinds of figural poses inherited from preceding artistic traditions, simultaneously implicating new tendencies of formal composition, and new conceptions of human self-expression and cognition.
"Possession, Occupation, Aerostation"
Enrique Ramirez is a doctoral candidate in the School of Architecture. His paper considers how Paul Fauchille's 1901 legal treatise "Le domaine aerien et le regime juridique des aerostats" ("Aerial Territory and the Legal Regime of Balloons") used the Eiffel Tower as a demarcator between free and sovereign air space. It is an examination of a moment from the early 20th century when architecture entered the international legal arena, a time when architecture legitimized a new legal regime, an "aerial".