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XLIIIrd AICA CONGRESS - 2009, Ireland : "The Relations between Art and Science : complicity, criticality, knowledge"

25th-31st October 2009

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The aim of the symposium is to debate and analyze the substratum of “memory” in contemporary art and creation. Memory as a symptom of our time, as part of the representation of the present day culture, in the context of a global economy that has dismantled the history and the archive of memory in many countries – especially in Asia and Latin America – in their way towards globalized economy and politics.

The IVth AICA Congress was held in Dublin in 1953. In the post-war era there was a great suspicion of the value of science within culture given the horrors of the previous decade. Now over fifty years later Dublin once again hosts the AICA Congress and we want to re-visit this theme from a 21st century perspective at a time when the field of Art and Science has become firmly rooted across artistic disciplines.

The Congress aims to address the many contemporary theories and approaches within art and science from a fresh and independent critical perspective. With the dearth of new terminology, corporate funding, government initiatives, new venues both real and virtual, the question is not whether art can be science or vice-versa, but how has the production of knowledge benefited from these avenues of cultural research and investigation?

2.00 pm. - 6.00 pm. Irish Museum of Modern Art
International Board Meeting (Board Members only)

Dublin Castle - Congress
9.00 am. Last minute Registration at congress office and other matters
10.00 am. Welcome by Yacouba Konate, International President of AICA
10.15 am. Introduction by Ciaran Bennett, President AICA Ireland
10.30 am. Keynote Speaker : Susanne Anker
11.15 am. - 1.00 pm. Coffee break and Papers by delegates
1.00 pm. - 2.00 pm. Lunch
2.00 pm. - 5.00 pm. Papers by delegates
6.00 pm. - 8.00 pm. Irish Museum of Modern Art
Exhibitions and wine reception, with a welcome by Director Enrique Juncosa; the museum is normally closed on this day, and will open specifically for the delegates to the congress

Dublin Castle - Congress
9.00 am. Keynote Speaker: Semir Zeki "A Tortured Vision"
9.30 am. - 1.00 pm. Papers by delegates, with coffee break
1.00 pm. - 2.00 pm Lunch
2.00 pm. - 5.00 pm. Papers by delegates
6.00 pm. - 9.00 pm. Dublin city centre
Art Tour of the city, with over twenty galleries and art spaces participating

Dublin Castle - Congress
9.00 am. Keynote Speaker: Carrie Fitzsimmons
9.30 am. - 1.00 pm. Papers by delegates, with coffee break
1.00 pm. - 2.00 pm. Lunch
2.00 pm. - 3.30 pm. Round Table Discussion followed by coffee
Discussion on themes and resolutions of the Congress, chaired by Professor Ciaran Benson with the all keynote speakers and others, and with specific public access
4.00 pm. - 5.00 pm. Questions and Answers
6.00 pm. - 8.00 pm. Hugh Lane, Dublin City Gallery
A Terrible Beauty - Francis Bacon Centenary Exhibition
A reception and exhibition to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the painter Francis Bacon in Dublin.

Day trip to Cork, via Kilkenny and Carlow
The second city of Ireland is in the south of the country, is home to The Glucksman Gallery, Crawford Municipal Gallery, and the National Sculpture Factory. On route we will visit the Butler Gallery in medieval city of Kilkenny, and the newest major art space in Ireland, Visual in Carlow.

10.00 am. - 5.00 pm. National College of Art and Design, Harry Clarke Building
AICA 62nd General Assembly
6.00 pm. - 8.00 pm. Exhibition and reception at the new Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin

Saturday 31st October & Sunday 1st November

Visit to The Central Kingdom, Newgrange, Dowth, Lough Crew, and the Hill of Tara, Neolithic Chambers and Iconography at one of the oldest sacred sites in Europe. Visit and lunch at Solstice Arts Centre with overnight stay in Navan.

Thanks to the generous support of the Getty Foundation, AICA International office has been able to assign some funds to support the attendance of AICA Members from Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, South Africa, Ivory Coast, India and Pakistan.

The XLIIIrd AICA Congress would like to thank the Sponsors for their support

Arts Council | Culture Ireland | Failte Ireland | Department of Arts, Sport & Tourism |

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AICA Congress Timetable


Thanks to the generous support of the Getty Foundation, AICA International office has been able to assign some funds to support the attendance of AICA Members from Africa, Asia and The Caribbeans.

1. Exhibition "A Terrible Beauty", Hugh Lane Dublin City Gallery, opening ©Ademola Azeez
2. Niilofur Farrukh, Andrew Lamprecht, Edward Rubin, Argelia Castillo ©Edward Rubin
3. Henry Meyric Hughes, Haydee Venegas, Ademola Azeez ©Ademola Azeez
4. Niilofur Farrukh, Elaine King, Edward Rubin ©Edward Rubin

Report by the General Secretary, Marie-Luise Syring

The 43rd International Congress of the Association of Art Critics took place from 25th to 31st of October 2009 and was organized by the Irish AICA section and its president, Ciaran Bennett. Were present 63 delegates from 28 countries.
The congress started with the Board Meeting, then followed a three-day-symposium under the title “The relations between art and science: complicity, criticality, knowledge“. It took place in the conference room of Dublin Castle thanks to the generous hospitality of the Irish government. The keynote speaker of the first day, Suzanne Anker, an artist and writer whose work consists in continuous research about art and biotechnology, gave us an introduction into the subject. The scientist Keith Roberts spoke about sci-art and the rise of biology as a substrate for the Visual Arts, seven more speakers raised questions about the ethics and the social implications of a period in which art and science are in conflict or in combination with each other.
The second day started with a most fascinating conference of Semir Zeki about neuroscience and his interpretation, as a neuroscientist, of the work of Francis Bacon. Further ten speakers tried to analyze the relationship between artistic and scientific languages, to describe the polymorphism of actual artworks, the differences and the similarities between artistic and scientific research.
Ademola Azeez from Nigeria and Jeanette Unite from South Africa gave an idea about the situation of industry, ecology and art in their countries. The Indian delegate pointed out that in different parts of the world, the relation between art and science is seen differently and functions in a different way. The symposium was closed with a round table discussion. It became clear that it was important to treat the subject not only from a centralistic, western dominated point of view, but to give as much as possible attention to what is going on in a globalised world.

Around the General Assembly which took place on the last day of the Congress, the delegates had the opportunity to join many interesting visits: they were invited to the opening of several commercial galleries, they had the possibility to see the collection and the exhibitions at the Irish Museum of Modern Art and in the Science Gallery at Trinity College. On a special travel tour they were welcomed in Cork at The Glucksman Gallery, The Crawford Municipal Gallery and The National Sculpture Factory, during the same day they also visited The Visual Centre of Contemporary Art in Carlow.
The highlight of the visiting program was certainly the opening of the exhibition “A Terrible Beauty – Francis Bacon” at The Dublin City Gallery, with a reception to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the painter.

- Report by Carlos ACERO RUIZ (Dominican Republic)
- Report by Ademola AZEEZ (Nigeria)
- Report by Sushma BAHL (India)
- Report by Niilofur FARRUKH (Pakistan)
- Report by Myrna RODRIGUEZ VEGA (Puerto Rico)

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