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Prof. Dr. Marta Smolińska (Poznań) will present the lecture "The reading of the unreadable. Illegibility as a critical strategy in Polish art since 1945 until today".

Event details of The reading of the unreadable
Date 28 March 2019
Time 17:00 -18:00
Location University Library
ASH / Smolinska Lecture / Malgorzata Dewidek, Ponglish


In the sphere of script, the phenomenon of illegibility forms part of our everyday life. Most of us can remember jotting a note that nobody, including ourselves, could later decode; most of us have experienced the impossibility of deciphering someone else’s scribbles, or an encounter with a sign system that we could not understand. What do we feel when faced with such situations: irritation, powerlessness, helplessness? And what if this peculiar state when, desired so much, the sense escapes us blatantly and irretrievably, opens a different kind of perception in which script becomes a material phenomenon in itself, an intriguing ornament, or a code that does not carry any information? A script that is visible but illegible.

Contemporary philosophers underscore the fact that illegibility can become a consciously adopted strategy in literature and visual arts, a strategy oriented to the audience in order to prove that the illegible is not and does not have to be the opposite of the legible, but it may usher in alternative forms of access to texts. Visual arts show potential to make the metaphor of illegibility literal. For works of art visualise various types of script that teeters on the brink of (il)legibility.

The lecture will be in German.

About the speaker

Prof. Dr. Habil. Marta Smolińska is a Polish art historian, art critic and freelance curator of many exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. 2003-2014 she was an assistant professor at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń (Faculty of Modern and Contemporary Art). Until 2014 she is a professor at the University of Arts in Poznań. She has been awarded by Foundation for Polish Science grant three times, DAAD scholarship at Humboldt University in Berlin (2012), Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies at Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich fellowship (2014), Hans Arp Foundation in Berlin fellowship (2015) and DAAD scholarship in Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte in Munich (2018). She has published numerous publications on modern and contemporary art, including four books „Puls sztuki [The pulse of art]” (Poznań 2010), „Młody Mehoffer [Young Mehoffer]” (Kraków 2004),  „Otwieranie obrazu. De(kon)strukcja uniwersalnych mechanizmów widzenia w nieprzedstawiającym malarstwie sztalugowym II połowy XX wieku [Opening the painting. De(con)struction of universal seeing mechanisms in non-representational easel painting of the 2nd half of the 20th century]” (Toruń 2012),  „Julian Stańczak. Op Art and the Dynamic of Perception” (Warszawa 2014), „Re-Orientierung. Kontexte der Gegenwartskunst in der Türkei und unterwegs“ (ed. with Burcu Dogramaci, Berlin 2017).



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