Dr Sanda Miller - Senior Lecturer in Media and Visual Arts
‘Fashion as Art; Is Fashion Art?’
in Fashion Theory (11) 1 The journal of Dress, Body and Culture
Berg, New York 2007
Edited by Valerie Steele
ISSN (print) 1362 704x ISSN (online) 1751 7419
This article debates the question: can fashion be regarded as an art form? In the first section, recent attempts at resolving the issues arising from this question are critically analysed and the conclusion is reached that fashion, like art, can be the subject of theoretical as well as historical research. The second section deals with the aesthetics of clothes. If sartorial fashion can be a form of art then we need to determine it's aesthetic parameters. Whilst it would be difficult to contest the artistic quality of clothes throughout the centuries, fashion, like architecture, fulfils primarily a functional dimension. The article also examines some of the key concepts of classical aesthetics with regard to taste, found in the writings of the Third Earl of Shaftesbury, Edmund Burke, David Hume and Immanuel Kant, and in particular Kant's less well-known writings on anthropology in which he discusses fashion. Curt.J.Ducasse's l944 article 'The Art of Personal Beauty' is also analysed. Like other contributions to Fashion Theory, my own article is an attempt to redress this balance by seeking new ways of providing a serious theoretical and aesthetic basis for the study of sartorial fashion. As a consequence of this essay: I was invited to give a paper at The Art of Fashion symposium at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, March 2007 and at the Fashion in Fiction symposium organised by the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building, University of Sydney, May 2007.I have also been invited by the University Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan to the give the keynote paper at Modarte, the international symposium, in May 2008.
‘Reconfiguring Brancusi’s Formative Years: Hobitza – Craiova – Bucharest’
in Constantin Brancusi: The Essence of Things
Tate Modern, London and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York 2004
Edited by Carmen Giménez and Matthew Gale
This commissioned essay was produced for the catalogue that accompanied the Constantin Brancusi exhibition at the Tate Gallery in May 2004. It discusses Brancusi's Romanian roots and the cultural context of his childhood and academic education. I have used previously untapped historical sources which charted the three stepping stones in Brancusi's career: his childhood in the village of Hobitza from l876-l888, his apprenticeship at the school of Arts and Crafts in Craiova between l894-1898 and finally his student years at the newly founded Academy of Fine Arts in Bucharest from l898 until his departure for Paris in l902, followed by his departure in 1904. Tate Modern awarded me a grant of £2,000 to research the essay, which involved working in the Archives of the Romanian Academy in Bucharest. As a consequence of this essay: I was invited to present a paper at the Constantin Brancusi colloquium which took place between 16-l9 Feburary, 2006 in Tirgu Jiu, Romania, to celebrate 230 years since his birth in l876, for which I selected a subject related to my recent research for the catalogue essay. Its title was: The Beginnings of Romanian Criticism During Brancusi's Student Years in Bucharest: l898-l902. I also gave two public lectures on the 16th and 23rd of February 2004 at Tate Modern, on the theme of Consonances a discussion of the friendship between Constantin Brancusi and Erik Satie. The events also included a music recital in the Tate Gallery exhibition space and was sponsored by AVIVA plc. It involved the musician and conductor Richard Bernas (the performance was recorded onto CD). An article entitled Brancusi's Women was also published in Apollo, March 2007.
‘From an Aesthetic Point of View’
in The Forms of Cubism
For an exhibition at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, and Salvador Dali Museum, St Peterburg, Florida
Edited by José Francisco Yvars
ISBN 84-8026-156-0, ISBN 84-89681-66-X
In this commissioned text I addressed the question of whether or not there is an aesthetic of cubist sculpture. To answer it, firstly I presented an outline of the development of cubist sculpture and secondly I analysed the theoretical, critical and aesthetic discourses hitherto associated with it. Central to my thesis was the fact that the distinction analytic/synthetic based upon Immanuel Kant's critical philosophy was first introduced by Daniel-Henri Kahnweiler in l913 and not by Roger Allard, Jean Metzinger and Albert Gleizes, and subsequently finalised by Maurice Raynal and Juan Gris in the 1920s as it continues to be argued in specialized bibliographies. This essay articulates a new theory that attributes the important distinction analytic/synthetic to Daniel-Henri Kahnweiler and not Juan Gris as described above.
Ana Maria Pacheco: The Dark Night of the Soul
Photographs by John Hedgecoe
Lund Humphries, London 2001
In l999 Brazilian born Ana Maria Pacheco became the first non-European artist and the first sculptor to be invited to become the National Gallery's Associate Artist. The Associates brief is to produce a work inspired by one of the masterpieces in the gallery and Pacheco's choice was Antonio Pollaiuolo's Martyrdom of St. Sebastian. The result was an installation of 18 larger than life polychrome woodcarvings. Although inspired by an ancient legend, Pacheco's interpretation was linked to a contemporary event via press photographs of the execution by garrotting of a common bandit in Brazil. In both instances we have the execution of a human being accused of transgressing the law. The title of the installation: Dark Night of the Soul is a quotation from the Spanish mystical poet San Juan de la Cruz (l542 91). One of the main purposes of the book was to chart the process of making each individual sculpture from the moment when the wooden logs arrived in the artist's studio to the completion of the dramatis personae of the tableaux vivant and their installation in the National Gallery. This was achieved through my text and John Hedgecoe's photographs. As a consequence of the book: I was invited to give a public lecture on Ana Maria Pacheco at the Hispanic and Luso Brazilian Council, Canning House, London. 15th September 1999. I researched and compiled a documentary for B.B.C. Radio 3 produced by Emma Kingsley, entitled: The Sculpture and Painting of Ana Maria Pacheco (A Bridge Between Two Worlds). Broadcast 10th October 1999. I gave a paper entitled: Scenes from an Execution or St. Sebastian Revisited based on Ana Maria's Pacheco installation exhibited at the National Gallery at the CIHA (the 30th International Congress of Art Historians) held in London 3-8 September 2000.