Looking at L’Herbier: French Modernism between the Wars
Friday 17 May 2013, 2:30 – 5:30pm, Free entry (rsvp)
LVMH Lecture Theatre, CSM, 1 Granary Square, London
Organised in conjunction with the film festival Marcel L’Herbier: Fabricating Dreams, this half-day symposium looks at fashion, cinema and inter-war Paris.
Bringing together a number of scholars working across fashion, film, art and design history, and featuring rare film clips, Looking at L’Herbier offers a critical reassessment of a prolific and important film director in the context of modernism. Part of the artistic milieu of Paris in the inter-war years, L’Herbier collaborated with many major cultural figures including the painters Fernand Léger, Sonia and Robert Delaunay, the composers Darius Milhaud and Arthur Honegger, the architect Robert Mallet-Stevens, designers Alberto Cavalcanti and Claude Autant-Lara, and couturiers Paul Poiret, Lucien Lelong and Louise Boulanger.
The symposium will investigate L’Herbier’s role in modernist aesthetics and cultural production, spanning not only art and design but also the shifting gender formations of the 1920s and 30s against the backdrop of both the Parisian avant-garde and the worlds of style, interiors and fashion.
2.30 – 2.45
Introduction from festival co-curator Caroline Evans (Professor of Fashion History and Theory, Central Saint Martins)
2.45 – 3.45
Keynote lecture by Mireille Beaulieu (Paris-based independent film curator and L’Herbier specialist) entitled ‘Marcel L’Herbier: moving human decor’ on Marcel L’Herbier’s work with costume and fashion designers, within his concept of “cinéma total”.
3.45 – 4.15
4.15 – 4.45
Dr Tag Gronberg (Reader in History of Art and Design, Birkbeck, University of London) will give a talk entitled ‘Femininity, Modernity and Motion Pictures’, on art, design and images of women, focussing on issues raised by L’Herbier’s collaboration with the artists Robert and Sonia Delaunay.
4.45 – 5.15
Dr Joan Tumblety (Senior Lecturer in History, University of Southampton) will give a talk entitled ’Jaque Catelain and the cultural negotiation of manhood in 1920s France’. This talk sets the ‘ephebic’ masculinity of one of Marcel L’Herbier’s favourite lead actors in relation to emerging post-war cultures of celebrity, and to the shifting gender ideals of the period.
5.15 – 5.45
Esther Leslie (Professor of Political Aesthetics, Birkbeck, University of London) will give a talk on ’Film and Flimsy’ that evokes the materiality of film itself by examining the fabrics (some filmy) that best suit filming, emphasizing reflections, play of light, and luxurious textures. Her talk also investigates the language we use to describe both film and fabric.
Please rsvp on the event page.