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HDK-Valand – Academy of Art and Design

Fountains Failures Futures: The afterlives of public art

A free public symposium in Lund, Sweden, 28 & 29 September 2023

More info and registration here

Research and discussion about public art frequently focuses on conditions of emergence and production for public works. Fountains Failures Futures starts at the other end – thinking about the afterlives of public art in relation to processes of decline, decay, acts of reparation and re-imagination, transformation, and change.

We are interested in questions of sustainability, custodianship, and whether “failed” public artworks can be revitalised and thought anew. What are the implications for their authorship and ownership, and what challenges does this present for commissioners, artists, architects, and urban planners? How can producers, owners and custodians of public artworks, and the communities living with these works, anticipate and accommodate complex afterlives of public art?

We also want to consider the changing terms through which futures are imagined—from progress narratives of the modern to crisis narratives of climate change—and what the implications are for commissioning public artworks and their evolution in the design of public space.

Lisa Le Feuvre
 Inaugural Executive Director of the Holt/Smithson Foundation, New Mexico, USA, and previous Head of Sculpture Studies at the Henry Moore Institute. She has written extensively on the idea of failure as a productive force and was editor for the Documents of Contemporary Art edition titled Failure (2010). Following her talk, Lisa will be in conversation with Jonatan Habib Engqvist—independent curator, writer and current editor of Swedish cultural magazine Ord&Bild.

Dan Karlholm Writer and Professor of Art History at Södertörn University in Stockholm. His research is on the theory and historiography of art, temporality, museum studies and effects of the Anthropocene. Co-editor of the book Time in the History of Art: Temporality, Chronology, and Anachrony (2018). Following his talk, Dan will be in conversation with Ingo Vetter—artist and Professor of Sculpture at the University of the Arts Bremen.

Jes Fernie Independent curator, writer, and lecturer. Many of her projects are situated in the public realm beyond gallery walls. In 2021 she initiated the online resource Archive of Destruction—a research platform about public artworks that have been destroyed by rage, boredom, fear, greed and love. Following her talk, Jes will be in conversation with Feras Hammami—researcher, writer and Senior Lecturer in Critical Heritage Studies at University of Gothenburg.

Patrick Amsellem Director of the Public Art Agency Sweden and former Director of Skissernas Museum—Museum of Artistic Process and Public Art in Lund. His research has focused on memory culture, memorials, and monuments after World War II. Following his talk, Patrick will be in conversation with Mattias Kärrholm – writer, researcher and Professor of Architectural Theory at the Department of Architecture and Built Environment, Lund University.

Case study presentations: Twelve different case studies were selected from an international open call. Offering an intriguing range of public artworks and narratives on their afterlives, these examples will be presented by:

Alex Hale & Gina Wall (Scotland); Anahi Alviso Marino (France); Ana Cristina Pansera de Araujo (Brazil/Argentina); Åsa Stjerna (Sweden); Carla Cruz (Portugal); doris duhennois (UK); Gabriela Saenger Silva (Brazil/UK); Hans van HouwelingenJack Engelbracht, Bram Kuypers & Constanze Schreiber (Netherlands); James Carey (Australia); Jason E. Bowman (UK/Sweden); Jenny Perlin (USA/Norway); Louise Rollman (Australia).


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Banner image: LTH-fontänen / the LTH Fountain, Lund Technical University, Sweden, 1974. Photo: Unattributed. Public domain /Alvin Arkiv.






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