As we all do in our daily lives, the project Abstraction before the Age of Abstract Art is struggling with the agenda. When will we be able to flight between Paris and Cleveland to resume our workshops and lectures? When will we be able to explore the collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Musée national du Moyen Âge? It seems almost impossible to schedule real meetings soon and it is why we are planning to close the FACE program remotely with a last workshop in Paris next June. Fingers crossed!
June 2020 was a bad moment to host a one-day symposium in Paris – in middle of the pandemic situation, just before the holidays. Our plan was to reschedule this very seminar in Paris during the Fall but it was too soon, and the situation had to stabilize before thinking in gathering scholars from the US and France in a closed room at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales. Planning it in June 2021? Why not, but once again the situation might be too hectic, too unsafe, and we cannot afford another delay. The FACE Foundation has been helping the project so much since the beginning with a lot of flexibility, but the program Abstraction before the Age of Abstract Art has to reach a final point with a closing meeting soon.
In these difficult and uncertain circumstances, we have decided to plan this last meeting on Wednesday 16 June, both on site and online. We will have the great pleasure to welcome the speakers we originally invited in 2020 and who kindly agreed to reschedule their talk this Spring: Jean-Claude Bonne (EHESS) on Matisse and medieval abstraction; Jean-Claude Schmitt (EHESS) on the use of diagrams in the Middle Ages; Daniel Russo (Université de Bourgogne) on the use of colors in manuscript illumination; Elise Haddad (EHESS) on the depiction of stars in the portal of Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne; Anca Vasiliu (Centre Léon Robin) on the concept of image in Philo of Alexandria. We will also listen to a very special guest, as Herbert Kessler (Johns Hopkins University) has agreed to give a paper during this workshop. This event will be open to all, and we will be sharing the link for registration and login at the beginning of June.
In the meantime and during the lockdown both in France and the US, we have been working in a quite long article in French untitled “Au-delà des sens, l’abstraction”, to be published soon in the next issue of the journal Convivium edited by Ivan Foletti and Philippe Cordez. The participants of the symposia held in Princeton, Cleveland and Paris in 2020 will recognize some objects we have been discussing during these meetings, like the non figurative pillars from Moissac cloister for example (c. 1100).
More news soon; stay safe.