On Materiality and Meaning

Presented by Professor Ewa Lajer-Burcharth (Harvard University)

Date: 16 March, 2018
Time: 3pm-4pm
Location: Digital Learning Space (Room 224, Level 2), Joyce Ackroyd Building (#37) 


What can be gained from considering a painting not only as an image but also a material object? The seminar will consider the methodological promises and challenges of recent shift in art history towards materiality, focusing specifically on the question of meaning. Contemporary paramedial practice of painting as well as eighteenth-century experiments with the medium will be discussed.

Recommended Reading, Ewa Lajer-Burcharth, “The Inner Life of Painting,” (on Amy Sillman), in Amy Sillman: One Lump or Two, Helen Molesworth, ed. (Boston: ICA & Prestel, 2014): 83-118; and Ewa Lajer-Burcharth “Chardin’s Craft,” The Painter’s Touch, chap. 2.



Ewa Lajer-Burcharth is the William Dorr Boardman Professor of Fine Arts in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. She is the author of Necklines: The Art of Jacques-Louis David after the Terror (Yale University Press, 1999); Chardin Material (Sternberg Press, 2011); and The Painter’s Touch: Boucher, Chardin, Fragonard, (Princeton University Press, 2017). She has also coedited and contributed to Interiors and Interiority (with Beate Söntgen; De Gruyter, 2015; Painting Beyond Itself: the Medium in the Post-medium Condition (with Isabelle Graw; Sternberg Press, 2016); and Drawing: The Invention of A Modern Medium (with Elizabeth M. Rudy; Harvard Art Museums, 2017). Recipient of the Getty Postdoctoral Fellowship and the Guggenheim Fellowship, among others, she was also a fellow at of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, the Wissenshaftskolleg zu Berlin, the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study, and the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art in Paris. Her current research interests include historical conceptualization of drawing as a practice, a medium and a discourse; the issue of artistic individuality in its different historical formulations; the relation between space and subjectivity; the question of interiority; the dialectic of privacy and publicness; the historical conceptions of painting as a practice, a discourse and an institution; art practice in a revolutionary situation, and art, architecture and technology in the Enlightenment.

This seminar is presented by the Power Institute with support from the Keir Foundation and the UQ Translational Research in Creative Practice research group.

Dr Ewa Lajer-Burcharth


About Research Seminar and Workshop Series


Writing and communicating about pandemics: 2020 School of Communication and Arts Research Seminar Series

The research seminar and workshop series occur each semester, each with a different topic and guest speaker from UQ or otherwise.

Semester 1, 2020 Seminars & Workshops


Friday, 13 March

Literature as Media: Chinese Online Literature—Storytellers, platforms and transmedia literary world

(Part of the Platform Media: Algorithms, Accountability and Media Design EVENTS)

Dr Tony Xiang Ren, Western Sydney University, with A/Prof Kim Wilkins, Dr Helen Marshall & Emily Baulch

Friday, 27 March



Dr Cedric Courtois

Friday, 10 April


TBC Dr Beck Wise

Friday, 24 April



Dr Skye Doherty

Friday, 8 May


TBC Dr Andrea Bubenik

Friday, 22 May


TBC Dr Chris Hay

Friday, 5 June

Online via Zoom

Research Seminar - Imagining the End of the World: Writing the Apocalypse before Covid-19 Dr Helen Marshall

Friday, 3 July

Online via Zoom:

Research Seminar - Developing Disciplinary Literacies in Hybrid Classes

Dr Beck Wise



Digital Learning Space, Joyce Ackroyd Building #37