Art and Science see the world in different ways; they speak different “languages”. What can these two different languages learn by engaging with – or speaking to – each other? How, indeed, do these fields need one another, what do they share – and what statements about the human condition do they make today? A short lecture by sculptor Royden Rabinowitch, followed by a round table discussion.
Few visual artists have reflected as thoroughly as Royden Rabinowitch on the thinking that the sciences provide and which is carried by facts rather than values. He considers the balancing of facts and values in our lives to be an ethical necessity, providing hope, but only paradoxically.
Two scientists will respond to Rabinowitch’s views. Theoretical physicist Sander Bais (UvA) finds that Rabinowitch “shares the ‘objectivity’ with science in the type of forms and shapes (spaces) he has created: an internal dialogue that expresses the tension of a human struggle between grammar (science), semantics (art) and meaning.” Art historian Miriam van Rijsingen is interested in the issue of making (in Rabinowitch’s practice) as a potential bridge between art and science. Can there then even be similarity in how art and science think about and hope for the world?
The event will launch a book that considers Rabinowitch's work, published on the occasion of the opening of a permanent display of a private collection of his sculpture in Ghent, Flanders. Following a short presentation on his work by Royden Rabinowitch, art and science relations will be discussed with Sander Bais, Miriam van Rijsingen and museum director Roland Nachtigäller, moderated by Professor Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes. The panel discussion will be followed by questions and discussion.
Royden Rabinowitch, artist and sculptor, (born 1943 Toronto) created his five seminal constructions, the foundation of his art, in Toronto between 1962 and 1965. He was elected a Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University, in 1986 and an Officer of the Order of Canada (OC) in 2002. He lives mostly in Europe.
Sander Bais obtained a PhD in Theoretical Physics from the University of Califoria (UCSC) in 1978. After research positions e.g. at CERN he became a full Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Amsterdam in 1985. He published some 100 scientific papers in leading journals and wrote a number of popular books on science, which focused on the cultural dimension of the hard sciences. His interests remain broad in that he enjoys music, poetry and the visual arts.
Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes (moderator) is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History at UvA. She studied in Heidelberg, London and Cologne, and completed her PhD in Cologne while already living in Ireland, where she wrote and curated Joyce in Art (Dublin 2004). This project included Rabinowitch’s work. She has published and curated on word and image relations, Joseph Beuys, performance art and post-War issues in art.
Roland Nachtigäller is artistic director (since 2009) of Marta Herford, a museum for contemporary art with a special focus on its relation to architecture and interior design. Among the great number of exhibitions he has curated, "We are all astronauts" on Richard Buckminster Fuller and his reflections in contemporary art was awarded the German curatorial prize. In 2009 he presented Royden Rabinowitch in a solo project with sculptures and drawings.
Miriam van Rijsingen is an art historian in modern and contemporary art at UvA and coordinator of the research master Art Studies. She is specialized in art and science interactions, (non) representational theory, new materialism and embodied spectatorship. She also teaches science philosophy for art historians. She was coordinator of the NWO program New Representational Spaces, and its experimental arts & genomics lab (2004-2009).