Thursday, May 01, 2008

Sculpture & Touch

Friday 16 & Saturday 17 May
Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre, The Courtauld Institute of Art
Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN

‘Marble comes doubly alive for me then, as I ponder, comparing, / Seeing with vision that feels, feeling with fingers that see’. (Goethe, Roman Elegies)

Since the Renaissance, at least, the medium of sculpture has been linked explicitly to the sense of touch. Sculptors, philosophers and art historians have all related the two, often in strikingly different ways. In spite of this long running interest in touch and tactility, in recent decades vision and visuality have tended to dominate art historical research.

This symposium aims to introduce a new impetus to the discussion of the relationship between touch and sculpture by setting up a dialogue between art historians and individuals with fresh insights working in disciplines beyond art history. The programme reflects this ambition by bringing together an international and truly diverse set of speakers who will tackle subjects ranging from prehistoric figurines to the work of contemporary artists, from pre-modern ideas about the physiology of touch to tactile interaction in the museum environment, and from the phenomenology of touch in recent philosophy to the experimental findings of scientific study.

To book a place: £35 (£15 students and Courtauld staff). Please send a cheque made payable to ‘Courtauld Institute of Art’ to: Research Forum Events Co-ordinator & Administrator, Courtauld Institute of Art Research Forum, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN, clearly stating that you wish to book for the ‘Sculpture & Touch conference’. For credit card bookings call 020 7848 2785/2909. For further information, send an e-mail to


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