Local Records : Carla Benzan (Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, McGill University), Thursday, September 21, 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm, Rare Books and Special Collections, McGill Library


Workshop led by Carla Benzan on histories of making images of nature with materials drawn from nature and our fascination with the boundary zone between the human and animal.

As part of the public programs for Philippe Hamelin Carnations, August 30 to October 21

Thursday, September 21, 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Feather Book of Dionisio Minaggio, 1618
Carla Benzan, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, McGill University
Location: Rare Books and Special Collections, McGill Library
4th floor – 3459 rue McTavish

RSVP – robin.simpson@concordia.ca

The interface between human and animal is literally raised on the surface of a seventeenth-century “Feather Book” depicting over one hundred birds along with a cast of human figures all composed through the intricate application of real feathers and bird skin on the page. Blurring the boundary between the ‘real’ and ‘representation’, this intriguing object prompts questions about the role of materiality, affect and embodiment in knowledge formation. Produced in 1618 by Dionisio Minaggio, the Chief Gardener of the Spanish State of Milan, the Feather Book couples the objectivity of scientific illustration in its representations of regional birds with portraits of known stage actors in their signature roles. Techniques employed draw influence from Central American feather decoration as encountered through the sixteenth-century European market after contact, as well as the popular tradition of Italian ‘pietra dura’ where detailed landscapes are set out in inlaid stone. Troubling the act of mimesis with the presence of the real, these feather collages bring to question the specious divide between nature and artifice. This workshop will explore the intersection of bodily, emotional and conceptual work that is demanded of viewers who confront such imagery.

Carla Benzan is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at McGill University who has published on contemporary, modern and early modern art. Her past and present research investigates the status of sacred images and new strategies of illusionism in the sculpture, painting, and printed images of northern Italy after the Council of Trent. Since completing her PhD dissertation on the Sacro Monte of Varallo at the University College London, Carla has been a Teaching Fellow at UCL and a Lecturer and Visiting Scholar at the University of Essex.

Local Records is a program that pairs exhibitions with relevant archival holdings in Montreal. Animated by a guest researcher each seminar coordinates encounters and discussions around a selection of primary documents, offering a local lens through which to consider the exhibition and a point of departure for new research.


Programme des rencontres Automne 2017 – 2017 Fall Calendar

Chères, chers, and dear Nouveaux Modernes,

The grand opening of our year is approaching — notre première séance aura lieu dans une semaine exactement, mercredi 13 septembre à 17h à l’UQAM, à la salle R-4215. 

Robert Wellington de la Australian National University nous parlera (en anglais, mais avec la possibilité de discuter ensuite en français), de The symbolic amplification of French Royal medals by the Indigenous people of Canada. La conférence sera l’occasion d’un rassemblement inédit des Nouveaux Modernes avec les spécialistes du Québec et du Canada, puisque le conférencier, spécialiste de la France du XVIIe siècle, parlera d’un sujet ayant à voir aussi avec les autochtones d’ici.

Voici le calendrier des séances suivantes qui auront toutes lieu le vendredi à 16h à l’UQAM, salle R-2440 :

13 octobre : Raúl Romero (Universidad internacional de la Rioja / chercheur postdoctoral à l’Université Laval) : Le mécénat de la Maison ducale de Medinaceli entre le Renaissance et le Baroque.

27 octobre : Rosa Maria Dessí (Université de Nice – Sophia-Antipolis) : Les spectres du “Bon Gouvernement” d’Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Artistes, cités communales et seigneurs angevins au Trecento.

10 novembre : Danijela Zutic (McGill University): Come Hell or Healing Waters: Bath Culture in Thirteenth Century Southern Italy.

8 décembre : Una Roman D’Elia (Queen’s University): Title to be announced later.

As you see, our winning combination of locals and visitors, young and established scholars, is once again au rendez-vous. Venez nombreuses et nombreux!

Bonne rentrée !