Wednesday, 29 May 2013


The School of Arts, Birkbeck
Conference Programme 

8.30 – 9.00 Registration

9.00 – 9.15  Introduction, Fiona Johnstone and Kirstie Imber

9.15 – 10.45  Modern and Contemporary Approaches: Anti-Portraiture and Embodiment
Chair: Dr Suzannah Biernoff (Birkbeck)

Monika Keska (University of Granada), “Deformity as De-Humanization in the Portraits of Francis Bacon”

David Hodge (University of Essex), “Robert Morris’s Anti-Portraits: Bodily Catalogues and Museal Anatomies” (David runs the Art History and Psychoanalysis Workshops)

10.45 – 11.15 Coffee break 

11.15 – 12.15  Non-Western Approaches to the Anti-Portrait Chair: Dr Gabriel Koureas (Birkbeck)

Roser Bosch (Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona), “Anti-Portraits in Australian Indigenous Arts: Landscapes, Artists, Ancestors”

Aslihan Erkmen (Istanbul Technical University), “‘Hilya’: A Verbal Portrait of the Prophet Muhammad and Its Modern Interpretations”

12.15 – 1.15  The Anti-Portrait during the Antique Period and Renaissance Chair: Dr Laura Jacobus (Birkbeck)

Meg Boulton (University of York), “Beyond Bread and Circuses: Reconsidering the Consular Diptych of Areobindus”

Meghan Callahan (Independent), “Truth and Untruth in Renaissance Anti-Portraits”

13.15 – 14.00 Lunch (not provided)

14.00 – 15.30  Keynote presentation: Susan Morris “The body that goes its own way: involuntary drawing as displaced self-portraiture.”

Morris will discuss how a displaced, or anti, self-portraiture develops across her own practice in various forms of involuntary drawing or automatic writing. Morris’s work is interested in tracking the self manifested in phenomena such as writer’s block, absent-mindedness and repetition. Using mechanical weaving processes, three-dimensional printing, ink-jet drawings made from motion-capture data, and the scattered notes of a diary, the work also traces a migration between media. The information being recorded, itself migratory, comes from ‘elsewhere’, is cast off from a body that goes its own way, pursues its own ideas, for, as Barthes has written in relation to (textual) pleasure, my body does not have the same ideas as I do.

15.30 – 16.00 Coffee break 
16.00 – 17.00 Literature and the Anti-Portrait Chair: Natalie Joelle (Birkbeck)

Donatella Valente (Birkbeck), “Cultural Imperialism and Iconoclastic Cine-Portraiture in Italian Artists’ Film: Cioni Carpi’s I will … I shan’t: A Study of Human Behaviour (1962)”

Anna Sborgi (Genoa), “Mina Loy’s Portraits of Vulnerability”

Elizabeth Guthrie (University of East London), “X Portraits – Towards a Realized Poetic Play”

17.30 Concluding remarks and wine reception 

Throughout the day: poster presentations from Llewella Burton (University of East Anglia) “White Noise: Postmodernising Holbein’s Henry in Contemporary Heritage Culture”,Laura Ellen Joyce (Sussex) “An Obscene and Sanctioned Perversion:  Abjection and Necrophilia in John Duncan’s Blind Date”(Laura Blogs at bloody mary bloody mary bloody mary), Fiona Johnstone (Birkbeck) “AIDS and the Anti-Portrait”, Kirstie Imber (Birkbeck) “To call, to cry aloud, to proclaim: the voice as portrait in contemporary Iranian art” , Kristen Lindgren (Haverford) “Bodily Difference and the Viewer’s Gaze: Swanson’s Anti-Self-Portraits, Connolly’s Rolling Exhibition, and Morris-Cafiero’s Wait Watchers”, and others.

For further information or to register your interest in attending please contact Fiona Johnstone and Kirstie Imber via email:, online:

(First image by Susan Morris, last two from my paper of Joe Spence and Hannah Cullwick)