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March 2011 Sebald Events Around the Globe

Langlands & Bell, Air Routes of the World (Night), 2001 [© Langlands and Bell]

It’s time to convert some frequent flier miles into plane tickets.  On Artslant China, there is an announcement for a talk in Hong Kong on March 26 called Memory Destroys – Photographs in the Work of W.G. Sebald. Here’s a portion of the event’s description:

2P Contemporary Art Gallery and Diorama Projects have invited writer and editor Doretta Lau to present Memory Destroys – Photographs in the Work of W.G. Sebald, a discussion on the writings of W.G. Sebald.

In her 2000 essay on W.G. Sebald A Mind in Mourning Susan Sontag asked ‘Is literary greatness still possible?  Since his untimely death, his novels The Emigrants, The Rings of Saturn, Vertigo and Austerlitz, published in translation, and other works have continued to be the subject of seminars and conferences and tributes such as artist Jeremy Millar’s A Firework for W.G. Sebald, and Grant Gee’s recently premiered film essay Patience (After Sebald).  Memory Destroys – Photographs in the Work of W.G. Sebald will be led by Doretta Lau and considers the author’s sublime use of photographs in his works, described by Susan Sontag as ‘an exquisite index of the pastness of the past’.

Doretta Lau is a writer and editor living in Hong Kong.  She contributes to Artforum, LEAP, The Wall Street Journal, SCMP, Sing Tao and Crave, and is a former Arts & Culture Editor for HK Magazine and a former Arts Writer for Time Out Hong Kong.  In 2007, she received her MFA from the Writing Division, School of the Arts at Columbia University.  She has a BA in English Literature and BFA in Creative Writing from The University of British Columbia.  Prior to moving to Hong Kong, she was an editorial assistant for the literary annual NOON. Currently, she is working on a collection of short stories.

Sara Seager, Sebald, W.G., “Austerlitz”, Anthea Bell (translator), Published by Random House U.S.A., Oct. 2001, ISBN-385504834, 2002
Silk screen and ink on paper

Meanwhile, across the Pacific in Los Angeles, highly respected LACE Gallery has just opened a new exhibition called On the Line, guest curated by Cody Trepte.  Sarah Seager, one of the artists included, has created a series of works on paper that use quotations from W.G. Sebald’s Austerlitz.  Here’s a bit of description from LACE’s website:

On The Line looks to four artists — Meg Cranston, Larry Johnson, Sarah Seager, and Mitchell Syrop — whose use of language can be seen as an evolution of Conceptualism. They parsed the discipline, and introduced a content that was more emotive while still maintaining the rigorous investment in ideas that artists like Sol Lewitt and Joseph Kosuth set forth.

With a casual commitment to systems, a heavy injection of reclaimed subjectivity, and the reintroduction of formal concerns, the artists in this exhibition continue to morph the use of text-in-art from its early rigid applications to a more humorous and pathos filled practice. The result is a simultaneous questioning and affirmation of Conceptualism which allows the discourse to continually reinvent itself.

[Thanks to Vertigo readers for the tips.]

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