STROMATA: The Carpet as Artifact, Concept and Metaphor in Literature, Science and the Arts


Organized by Vera-Simone Schulz and Gerhard Wolf

Dedicated to the arts and aesthetics of carpets and to the role of the carpet as a concept in science or the history of ideas, the workshop seeks to elucidate different artistic and intellectual approaches towards carpets from Clement of Alexandria's 'Stromateis' to the present. It will highlight the various functions of carpets, which, when put on floors, do not only embellish rooms, but also contribute to the structure of architectural spaces, and which can delineate sacred surfaces and visualize social and political hierarchies. It will address topics such as the materiality of carpets and ornamental structures, the interaction of various media, the carpet as an object and as an item of material culture, their representation in painting, knotting techniques and concepts of the knot, the carpet as a metaphor and as a model for the world, literary accounts of carpets and their transcultural biographies or itineraries. The workshop focuses on issues such as the dimensionality and flatness, repetition, pattern, figuration, and performativity of carpets, as well as on "master piece" discourses, the specific role of the "Oriental" carpet, and on problems of display.

On the one hand, marginalized as belonging to the "minor" or "applied arts", and on the other hand, celebrated as a "paradigm" for modern art, carpets have long been discussed in various discourses, even if in isolation. By bringing together art historians, archeologists, carpet historians, historians of philosophy, scientists and experts of literary studies, this workshop seeks to open up the field of inquiry and to overcome disciplinary boundaries, to critically reflect on research traditions and to explore new approaches when taking on the challenge of studying carpets in a comprehensive way.

Invited speakers include Friedrich Teja Bach, Anna Beselin, Walter Denny, Cäcilia Fluck, Michael Franses, Markus Lackinger, Karin Leonhard, Henry Maguire, Susanne Muth, Elena Phipps, Regine Prange, Scott Redford, Dieter Schlüter, Gisela Schlüter, Silke Tammen, Merel van Tilburg, Eva-Maria Troelenberg and Dietmar Wyrwa.

Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz - Max-Planck-Institut
Palazzo Grifoni Budini Gattai
Via dei Servi 51
50122 Firenze
Vera-Simone Schulz M.A.  


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