Staging Fascism: Contemporary Artistic Practice and Rationalist Urban Space

A panel discussion organized by Miriam Paeslack

Hans-Christian Schink, EUR, Via Ciro il Grande 1, 2014, 15.75 x 19.69 inches. © Hans-Christian Schink; Coutesy Kicken Berlin and Galerie Rothamel Erfurt/Frankfurt.

Hans-Christian Schink, EUR, Via Ciro il Grande 1, 2014, 15.75 x 19.69 inches. © Hans-Christian Schink; Coutesy Kicken Berlin and Galerie Rothamel Erfurt/Frankfurt.

Thursday, April 11, 2019
5:30pm - 8:00pm
UB Anderson Gallery
One Martha Jackson Place
Buffalo, NY 14214

Poster for Photographic Recall: Italian Rationalist Architecture in Contemporary German (and Italian) Art.

This panel tackles the complex interrelation between artistic practices and their historically charged subjects in urban environments.Three of the participating artists, Eiko Grimberg (Berlin), Heidi Specker (Berlin), and Caterina Borelli (Rome), and UB faculty from the departments of Art (John Opera), History (Camilo Trumper), and Architecture (Charles Davis) discuss tensions and ambivalences at sites that once served as propagandistic stage sets of Fascist power. How can artists, historians, and architects address these issues as critical observers rather than accomplices?

Panel discussion takes place in conjunction with exhibition, "Photographic Recall: Italian Rationalist Architecture in Contemporary German (and Italian) Art." Learn more about the exhibition

Eiko Grimberg | Berlin, Germany


Eiko Grimberg works with text, photography and video. His artistic approach is the visual essay. Most of his work centralizes on the leftovers of the everyday, be it neoclassical columns and capitals or paper and coin currency. Such atavisms in architecture and money circulation demonstrate for him irrational and unresolved moments of the everyday. His most recent foto book publications are Future History and Rückschaufehler (both 2013). The former is concerned with the architecture of Italian fascism, the latter with the reconstruction of Berlin’s city castle. In 2015, Grimberg concluded an essay for the journal Camera Austria together with Clemens von Wedemeyer and Mroco Poloni, which addressed Michelangelo Antonionis archaicfuturistic residence on Sardinia.

Heidi Specker | Berlin, Germany


Heidi Specker lives and works in Berlin. After studying in Bielefeld and Leipzig with Prof. Joachim Brohm, she began showing her work in 1989 and since then has exhibited internationally. Her series Im Garten has been shown at Sprengel Museum Hannover, accompanied by a publication that received the book award Deutscher Fotobuchpreis in 2005. In 2010, Specker received a fellowship for the Villa Massimo in Rome. During her year in Italy, the project Termini was conceived. Heidi Specker has received numerous awards for her work, such as the European Photography Award and the working grant from Kunstfonds Bonn. She holds a permanent position as professor of photography at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig, Germany.

Caterina Borelli | Rome, Italy


Caterina Borelli has worked in radio, television, and independent film since the early 1980's. Her work includes a wide range of genres: experimental video, documentaries, and in-depth news coverage. In addition to many festivals and screenings internationally, her work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, the Pacific Film Archive, the American Museum of the Moving Image, and the British Museum. A former Senior Producer and U.S. Correspondent for the science series SuperQuark on RAI Channel 1 in Italy, Borelli is currently working at a prime-time daily News Talk Show. Ms Borelli is a graduate of the 1987/88 Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Studies Program - Artists' Studio. She has dual US and Italian citizenship.

John Opera | University at Buffalo Department of Art


In his photo-based work, John Opera combines a deep interest in the visual characteristics of natural and scientific phenomena with a rigorous experimental approach to the techniques and apparatuses by which photographs have been defined and produced. Opera often returns to antiquated—but by no means exhausted—photographic tools and processes, including pinhole imaging, and more recently the cyanotype and anthotype. He earned his BFA from SUNY New Paltz (1998) and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2005). He lived, worked, taught, and exhibited in Chicago for more than a dozen years.

Camilo Trumper | University at Buffalo Department of History


Camilo Trumper's  first book, Ephemeral Histories: Public Art, Politics and the Struggle for the Street in Chile (Berkeley: The University of California Press, 2016), is a cultural history of political change in late twentieth-century Chile. Ephemeral Histories is a study of the myriad ways in which traditionally marginalized individuals claimed city spaces as a means of entering into political debates. His second project builds on research conducted with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. It takes up one of Ephemeral Histories most compelling subplots regarding urban politics in democracy and dictatorship, but pivots to explore childhood, schooling, and activism in Pinochet’s Chile. He earned his BA from University of British Columbia (2000), MA from University of California, Berkley (2003), and PhDf from University of California, Berkley (2008).

Charles Davis II | University at Buffalo Department of Architecture


Charles L. Davis II is an assistant professor of architectural history and criticism at the University at Buffalo. He received his PhD in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and has an M.Arch and B.P.S. from the University at Buffalo. His academic research examines the integrations of race and style theory in modern architectural debates from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. He has published articles and essays in Architectural Research QuarterlyJournal of the Society of Architectural HistoriansHarvard Design MagazineAggregate, Append-x and VIA. His design work, which examines the contemporary relevance of his academic research, has been exhibited at galleries in New York State and North Carolina. Charles is co-editor of the cultural reader Diversity and Design: Understanding Hidden Consequences (Routledge, 2015) and the forthcoming Race and Modern Architecture (University of Pittsburgh).

This event is co-sponsored by the Humanities Institute, the Department of Media Study, and the Department of History