Lissitzky Space: New Materialist Experiments - Seminar Universiteit Utrecht

El Lissitzky, Proun, 1922-1923

Lissitzky Space: New Materialist Experiments Seminar Universiteit Utrecht

13:00 - 17:00

Besloten Seminar van de Universiteit Utrecht.

Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven, 'Leslokaal'

Convened by Rick Dolphijn and Iris van der Tuin (Utrecht University)

Supported by Deakin University (Melbourne), Onderzoeksschool voor Geschiedenis en Cultuur, Departement Media en Cultuurwetenschappen en Graduate Gender Programme (Utrecht University) and the Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven)


13:00 - 13:15 Welcome
Annie Fletcher (Curator at Van Abbemuseum) 

13:15 - 13:30 Opening: New Materialism
Iris van der Tuin (Utrecht University)

13:30 - 14:00 Planes, Movement, and Space 
Linda Boersma (Utrecht University)
Lissitzky’s concept of visual and tangible forms as petrified moments in time is profoundly affected by Malevich’s Suprematism. According to Malevich, all visible (and invisible) entities are defined by a continuous and unpredictable process of movement and change. In fact, it is primarily this idea of transformation and change that separates the work of Russian avant-garde from that of their artistic counterparts: the artists associated to The Style.   


14:00 - 14:45 Introduction and visit to exhibition Lissitzky + 
Willem Jan Renders (project leader Lissitzky+ at Van Abbemuseum)

15:00 - 15:30 Lissitzky's Infinite Interiority: Axonometrics and the Feeling of Space
Rick Dolphijn (Utrecht University)
Introducing pangeometrics or axonometrics into the occidental abstract visual arts, the work of El Lissitzky offers us a Baroque interiority as a radical alternative to the focus on exteriority that dominated the arts for so long. Introducing a mannerism into abstraction he offered us an affective notion of space that proves to be of great importance to architecture today. In the work of Spuybroek for instance, we recognize the "sympathy for things" that refuses hierarchy, the facade and the cold modernism that marked the 20th century.


15:30 - 16:00 Lissitzky: New Materialism and Diagrammatic Living. 
Jondi Keane (Deakin University, Melbourne)
Lissitsky's spatial and architectural work anticipates the contemporary fascination with expanded fields of activity that have resulted in transdisciplinary approaches to research and the role of practice-led research. This paper will discuss Lissitzky's suprematist perspective in relation to  contemporary practices - under the rubric of the "diagram" - that re-imagine and enact the relationship between the built surround and embodied cognition. Lissitzky's work will serve as the starting point for a discussion of contemporary practitioners and theorists working across philosophy, cognitive science and built environment in order to draw out, through the act of diagramming, life on new terms. 

16:00 - 16:15 Comments on Keane's Diagrammatic Living
Leslie Kavanaugh (Studiokav)

16:15-16:45 Work in progress; Work in process and plenary discussion
Piet van de Kar (independent sculptor) and all other speakers of the day
During the plenary discussion a pictorial essay will be shown consisting of more than 200 sketches on body and space experiments with the processual and oscillatory encounter with any artwork.

Linda Boersma is assistant professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of Utrecht. Her research interests and publications range from Russian avant-garde to contemporary art. As assistant curator she worked at The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam for the Malevich exhibition in 1988, and in 1990-1991 at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam. In 2010, she was a visiting professor at Rutgers University.  

Rick Dolphijn is assistant professor of cultural theory at Utrecht University. His research focuses on new materialism. He has published in journals like Deleuze Studies, Collapse, Volume (Archis), Fast Capitalism and Inflexions. With Iris van der Tuin he wrote New Materialism which will be published by the Open Humanities Press soon.


Annie Fletcher is curator at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. Recent exhibitions include solo presentations of Jo Baer, Jutta Koether, Deimantas Narkevicius and the long term project, ‘Be[com]ing Dutch’ with Charles Esche  during 2006 – 2009. She is a tutor at De Appel in Amsterdam. From 2005 - 2010 she was the co-founder and a director with Frederique Bergholtz of the rolling platform ‘If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution’ (

Piet van de Kar graduated from the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten, Utrecht, the Netherlands in 1988, and has since then been working an independent sculptor in Amsterdam. He also works as a lecturer at Foam, photography museum in Amsterdam. In his work, he studies the ‘soul’ of a sculpture. He sees a sculpture as a body, and works with unity/oneness, complexity, and intensity as his yardsticks.

Jondi Keane is an arts practitioner, critical thinker and senior lecturer in the Image at Deakin University who publishes on issues of embodiment, practice-led research and experimental architecture and produces site-specific projects, performative-installations and art-science experiments. He has published in range of interdisciplinary journals including Ecological Psychology (2008), Janus Head (2007), Interfaces (2003), Limen(2001) and TEXT (2000) and book chapters in Lecercle and Kral (eds.) (2010) Architecture and Philosophy: New Perspectives on the Work of Arakawa and Madeline Gins,and will be included in the forthcoming volume edited by Bolt and Barrett, Carnal Knowledge: New Materialism and the Arts (I. B. Tauris).

Leslie Kavanaugh is both an architect and a philosopher. She is a registered architect in both America and the Netherlands. She is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). She holds not only degrees in architecture but a B.Phil., M.Phil., and a Ph.d. in Philosophy from the University of Amsterdam. Formally she was a Senior Researcher specializing in the philosophy of space and time at TUDelft, associated with the Delft School of Design (DSD). Kavanaugh's publications include: The Architectonic of Philosophy: Plato, Aristotle, Leibniz (Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press, 2007), Meditations on Space (Amsterdam, 2010), and Chrono-topologies (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2010).  At present, she is the director of, a multi-disciplinary design atelier in Amsterdam.

Willem Jan Renders studied art history at Utrecht University followed up by research periods in Florence and Rome. Respectively, he was head of communication at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen (Rotterdam), Kunsthal (Rotterdam) and now works at Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven). Here he is the project leader of Lissitzky + and and manager Public Programs.


Iris van der Tuin is assistant professor of Gender Studies at Utrecht University. She is working on the project 'The Material Turn in the Humanities' for which she has been awarded a VENI grant by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Van der Tuin has published in journals such as Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy.