CFP: Panel “Rethinking the Form-Matter Nexus after the Material Turn” - 36th Congress of the Comité international d’histoire de l’art (CIHA)

Submission deadline: September 15, 2023

Conference date(s):
Yesterday - June 27, 2024

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Conference Venue:

Centre de Congrès de Lyon (France)
Lyon, France


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CIHA 2024 Congress call for Papers


The Call for papers for the 36th Congress of the Comité international d’histoire de l’art (CIHA) is open. We welcome papers for the panel “Rethinking the Form-Matter Nexus after the Material Turn”. [].


Rok Bencin, Research Centre of The Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts – Ljubljana; Anna Montebugnoli, Independent Researcher – Rome; Anna Longo, Collège international de philosophie (CIPh) – Paris.

Corresponding author(s). Email: [email protected] (Rok Bencin) [email protected] (Anna Montebugnoli).

In recent decades, the notion of matter has become increasingly important in theoretical (philosophical, artistic, political, and social) debates. This new centrality is characterised by the redefinition of matter as an autonomous concept, freed from its traditional subordination to form. With this newfound freedom, matter came to be understood as a continuous, "thick" and active principle. On the one hand, this led to a transdisciplinary effort that was often limited to an almost literal transposition of the laws of matter formalised by the so-called hard sciences into the materialisms of the so-called soft sciences. On the other hand, this implied an aestheticization of matter through its vibrant fluctuations and indeterminacy.  In contrast to the often hasty new materialist drive to overthrow the realm of form, the panel focuses on the complexity of the dialectic of matter and form, subtracting the two concepts from the logic of subjugation and proposing the possibility of a horizontal relationship between the two. The theory and history of art, insofar as they are concerned with the constant (re)use and (re)definition of the form-matter nexus, constitute the privileged vantage point from which to retrace its genealogy and reconfigure its internal dialectic, both in the history of Western art and in other artistic traditions.  In this sense, the panel invites us to rethink the genealogy of the form-matter nexus in three ways. First, by tracing the disruptions within its classical definitions from Plato's chora, Aristotelian and Scholastic hylomorphism, to Schiller’s aesthetics and Hegel's dialectics. Second, by exploring other genealogies, which are tangent to the Western tradition – as in the case of Ibn Rushd and Ibn Sina rethinking of Aristotle’s notions of form and matter – or completely heterogeneous from it. Third, by examining its contemporary transformations in aesthetics and art history, e.g. through Rancière's archaeological study of the rise of aesthetics, Didi-Huberman’s study of Renaissance art, and other methodological perspectives committed to developing a genealogical critique of the matter-form nexus. 

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

Philosophical and aesthetic genealogies of the form-matter nexus;

Modern and contemporary transformations of the notions of matter and form;

The changing relationship between form and matter in the history of artistic practices within and beyond Western art;

Rethinking the form-matter nexus from global perspectives;

Examining contemporary materialisms through original genealogical lines of inquiry into the notion of form;

 Social and political implications of the (non)relation between matter and form.

You can submit your abstract here:


For any inquiry, please write to one of the e-mail adresses of the corresponding authors listed above.


Call for papers calendar:

Opening of the Call for papers: June 12, 2023    

Closing of the Call for papers: September 15, 2023    

Selection of papers by chairs: October 11, 2023     

Publication of the préprogramme of the 36th CIHA Congress: October 27, 2023   

Conference dates: June 23-27, 2024.

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Custom tags:

#Materialism, #Matter/Form, #Theory of Art, #History of Art