The Success of Figurative Contemporary Art (webinar)

Join us for this unique lecture on Figurative Contemporary Art and learn how it addresses identity, memory and feelings of displacement.

Figurative art is commonly associated with traditional painterly practices and subject matters that include portraiture, still-lifes and landscape paintings, to name a few. Perhaps Italian Old Master portraits like the Mona Lisa come to mind, or the Dutch Baroque interior scenes of Vermeer? However, figurative art has also defined itself more recently as a relevant style within contemporary art too. After all, it is arguably able to bring to light important modern day topics in a manner that is far more accessible than abstract art.
Looking at a small selection of world-renowned artists we will examine how these painters use more traditional approaches to art to highlight the issues that define their lives and the society they live in.
The first artist we will focus on, is the highly sought-after British painter Hurvin Anderson whose visually striking compositions speak of estrangement. Anderson creates powerful works that convey the feeling of being a foreigner in your own country, through the use of physical and metaphorical barriers. Growing up in Birmingham to Jamaican émigré parents, he was always fascinated by their accounts of this distant land. When he finally travelled to the Caribbean he found it strange that he was referred to by the locals as ‘the British’, when while he had been in Britain, he had been strongly associated with his Caribbean community. This sense of inescapable displacement is captured emphatically in Anderson paintings.
Looking at works by Peter Doig, on the other hand, we will examine how the idea of personal memory is explored in his paintings. And finally, we will focus on Luc Tuymans who challenges the reliable nature of images in the media and in our every day. Defining our generation as the ‘television generation’ he remarks on the sources of the millions of images we are bombarded with on a daily basis. Sometimes he perceives these images as being used as powerful political tools and other times he comments that we, ourselves, are misled by our inaccurate memory of them. Tuymans explores how memory and images can be at once unreliable and deceptive.
This event does not require any art knowledge. If you like art and are curious what we can learn with it – join us! After 50 mins lecture we will dedicate time for questions and discussions.


Bojana Popovic, art historian, advisor and lecturer
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Upon completing her Masters in Curating at The Courtauld Institute of Art, Bojana worked at TATE Britain and The Serpentine Galleries before seeking experience in the private art sector. For a few years she worked for private art galleries in Zurich and Paris before moving to the leading auction house, Christie’s, in London. During her four years at Christie’s she worked as a Specialist in the Post-War and Contemporary Art department where she also led art history lectures in collaboration with Christie’s Education’s MA programme. Since then, Bojana has been working as a freelance art consultant, Art History lecturer and writer.

This event is over but you can rent and watch its recording!

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