1922 - A Year of the Transmodern
Lecture by Christian Kravagna as part of the lecture series Transatlantic Modernities between Brazil and Austria.
In 1922, modernism became transcultural. From Calcutta to Vienna, from Harlem to Moscow, from Paris to Sāo Paulo, artists, intellectuals and activists realized projects based on the transcontinental networks they had created since WW1. This paper casts a view on the entanglement of global modernisms through the lens of anti-colonial liberation politics, Pan-Africanism and racial justice movements. Based on the notion of the transmodern – a critical transcultural force challenging the colonial foundations of the Euromodern – the paper looks at the first exhibition of global modern art 1922 in Calcutta, the Semana de Arte Moderna the same year in Sāo Paulo and other coeval events. Reconstructing some of the relevant political and cultural frameworks, the paper inquires possibilities of a modern art history of contact.
Christian Kravagna is an art historian and Professor of Postcolonial Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. His most recent books are Transmodern: An art history of contact, 1920–60, Manchester 2022, and (with Cornelia Kogoj) Das amerikanische Museum: Sklaverei, Schwarze Geschichte und der Kampf um Gerechtigkeit in Museen der Südstaaten (The American museum: Slavery, Black history and the struggle for justice in museums of the South), Vienna/Berlin 2019.