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maat visual culture art course
maat visual culture art course
04/05/2023 - 29/06/2023

Course on Visual Culture
The history and visuality of painting, photography and cinema
With Isabel Nogueira

To say that images are everywhere is as common as it is true. Already in 1994, in his book Picture Theory: Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation, W. J. T. Mitchell referred to a pictorial change which he characterised as the transition from the predominance of the book to that of the image. That does not mean, however, that we necessarily live in a world where the image is hegemonic, even if the idea is understandable and, to an extent, pertinent. It is our opinion that throughout history, and particularly the history of art, there were various periods of shift and change that were defining for the concept, status and function of images. One of the most important was the advent of photography and, shortly afterwards, of cinematography, which triggered the so-called “crisis of representation”. But something is certainly occurring today with images, in the sheer scope of their production and reproduction, in the free intertwining of their media and in their complex relationship with the viewer’s perception and, above all, with the expectations around the image itself. We intend to focus specifically on the pictorial, photographic and cinematographic image: its history, aesthetic assumptions, artistic grammars and visual languages.

– To build the conceptual, historical and critical understanding of the world of visual culture, specifically as related to the artistic image in its plastic and communicative dimension.
– To identify the particularities, issues and mutual relationships of images on different media and in different languages: painting, photography, cinema and video.
– To increase the ability to read, interpret, compare and analyse the complexity of the artistic image and its place in the contemporary world.

1. The concept of image in western culture. The image as representation and signification system.
2. The “crisis of representation”, the search for new visual codes in painting, and the advent of photography. The history and representation of the traditional genres of two-dimensional art (landscape, portrait and still-life).

3. A short history of photography in contemporary society.
4. The invention of cinema and two important historical and aesthetic moments:
4.1. The avant-garde movements of the early 20th century (Futurism, Expressionism, Impressionism, Dadaism, Surrealism, the Russian Avantgarde);
4.2. The international neo-avantgarde, American Experimentalism of the 60s and 70s, and underground film.


Isabel Nogueira has a PhD in Fine Arts, having specialised in Sciences and Theories of Art (Faculdade de Belas-Artes da Universidade de Lisboa), and a post-doctorate in History and Theory of Contemporary Art and Image Theory (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne). She is a historian and critic of contemporary art, professor and essayist. In addition to teaching at the National Society of Fine Arts, Isabel Nogueira is also a researcher at CIEBA/Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Lisbon and a member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) and Institut Æsthetica: Art et Philosophie/Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. She is the editor of the magazine Arte e Cultura Visual (CIEBA) and a corresponding writer for the magazine Recherches en Esthétique. Her latest monographs/essays are: Teorias da Arte: Do Modernismo à Actualidade [Theories of Art: From Modernism to the Present Day] (Book Builders, 2019; 2nd ed. 2020); Como Pode ‘Isto’ Ser Arte? Breve Ensaio sobre Crítica de Arte e Juízo de Gosto [How Can ‘This’ be Art? A Short Essay on Art Criticism and Taste Judgement] (Edições Húmus, 2020); História da Arte em Portugal: Do Marcelismo ao Final do Século XX [The History of Art in Portugal: From Marcelism to the End of the 20th Century] (Book Builders, 2021); Crítica de Arte ou o Espaço entre a Obra e o Mundo [Art Criticism or the Space Between the Artwork and the World] (Edições Húmus, 2021); and Histoire de l’art au Portugal (1968–2000) (L’Harmattan, 2022).

Reference book for the sessions:
Isabel Nogueira: A Imagem no Enquadramento do Desejo: Transitividade em Pintura, Fotografia e Cinema [The Image within the Framework of Desire: Transitiveness in Painting, Photography and Cinema]. Lisbon: Book Builders, 2016.

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