DeMATERIALISATIONS in Art and Art-Historical Discourse in the Twentieth Century (Proceedings of a conference held in Tomaszowice on 14–16 May 2017)
Edited by Wojciech Bałus and Magdalena Kunińska

Cracow 2018

257 x 200 mm, 240 pages

With illustrations in colour and b&w, laminated hardback

ISBN 978-83-89831-33-0

Cover photo: Andrzej Wróblewski, The Emotional Content of the Revolution, 1948, Poznań, National Museum.
Photo: © The Andrzej Wróblewski Foundation

Fifty years after the appearance of Lucy Lippard and John Chandler’s famous article ‘The Dematerialization of Art’, which tried to evaluate the changes that were taking place in art in the 1960s – changes that were described by the authors as the gradual disappearance of the material basis of works of art, thus leading to ultra-conceptualism – we put forth this volume of studies which make critical reference to the concept of dematerialisation. This book is the result of a conference that was held at the Cracow Conference Centre at Tomaszowice Manor from 14 to 16 May 2017. Co-organised by the Institute of Art History at the Jagiellonian University and the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow, the conference was titled DeMATERIALISATIONS in Art and Art-Historical Discourse in the Twentieth Century.


By setting apart or, in a way, putting aside the prefix ‘de’ and separating it from ‘materialisation’, we hoped to create a motive that would spur the authors to analyse various artistic phenomena – from the reduction of the material basis of works of art to a consideration of the concept of matter itself and the ways in which it can be expressed in the most ‘appropriate’ manner. The second part of the conference title referred to the problems faced by art history when it comes to expressing the extra-material contents of works of art and to developing an appropriate methodology for investigating works that elude formal analysis.

(From the introduction)





Fifty Years Later: DeMATERIALISATIONS in Art and Art‑Historical

Discourse in the Twentieth Century


Wojciech Bałus

Introductory Remarks on Dematerialisation


David Summers

Material Unbound


Hans Christian Hönes

Six Years Later: Writing Prehistory


Wiktoria Kozioł

The Conception of Materiality Presented at the Exhibition

of Modern Art (1948). Regarding the Topic of the ‘Heightened’

Realism of Modern Art


Jan Piotr Cieślak

Procedures of Radical Materiality


Bożena Shallcross

Kantor – Herbert – Vostell: On the Material Language of Destruction


Eric C.H. De Bruyn

Vanishing Acts: Notes on a Genealogy of Dematerialisation

Sebastian Egenhofer

Between Fetish and Hardware: The Dialectic of Site‑Specificity

in Sam Lewitt’s More Heat than Light


Krzysztof Moraczewski

The Dematerialisation of Music: From Ontology to Cultural Theory


Magdalena Kunińska

Memory as Matter. The Art Historical Approach to the Endurance

of Iconographic Motifs – Beyond Time, Space (and Style). Forgotten Studies

on Jewish Art by Zofia Ameisenowa


Marta Smolińska

Dematerialisation in the Context of a Counter‑Monument: Horst Hoheisel’s

Radical Concept for the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe


Filip Lipiński

The Virtual as the ‘Dangerous Supplement’ of Art (History)


Monika Wagner

Dust – Smoke – Soot. ‘Dirty’ Dematerialisations in Contemporary Art


Marcin Kościelniak

Dematerialisation as a Step Beyond Culture. A Case Study


Bogdan Achimescu

Dematerialisation, Rematerialisation, Utopia, Corruption.

A Story about the Fine Arts High School in Timișoara



Authors’ affiliations