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Monika Wagner

Body as material and medium of art


Since the 1960s, the human body in its physicality has played an important role for the visual arts. What it means to use the sentient body as a material of art and to explore the boundaries that distinguish it from other materials has been part of numerous artistic experiments. In contrast to such, often precarious artistic self-experiences, the focus today is rather on the direction of foreign bodies in their social readjustment or the fluidity of gender boundaries. The relationship between the body as material and the body as medium, and the relationship between the physical and the medial, will be examined using examples of artistic works from the last fifty years - from Yoko Ono to Santiago Sierra.

Monika Wagner was initially trained as an artist before studying art history in Hamburg and London. She directed the Funkkolleg 'Modern Art' and taught art history at the University of Hamburg from 1987 until her retirement in 2009, where she established the archive for the research of material iconography. Her work focuses on the art of the 18th-20th centuries, the history and theory of perception, and most especially the semantics of artistic materials. Fellowships have taken her to the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, the Getty Research Center in Los Angeles, and the IFK in Vienna.

Guest lecture, 15.03. 2023