"Disassembled Images": Contemporary Art After Allan Sekula


Cinema Zuid
Waalsekaai 47
2000 Antwerp


"Disassembled Images": Contemporary Art After Allan Sekula is a scientific conference organized by the Lieven Gevaert Research Centre for Photography, Art and Visual Culture (KU Leuven - Université catholique de Louvain) and M HKA - Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerpen.

Purpose and Format

This international conference takes the US artist, theoretician, critic, teacher and poet Allan Sekula's Ship of Fools / The Dockers' Museum (2010-2013) as its point of departure. At the very end of his life Sekula produced this unfinished, multifaceted and variably installable work of art, which contains ca. 1250 objects. Focusing on dock workers and seafarers, Sekula's Ship of Fools / The Dockers' Museum paid tribute to all the joined, past efforts of human labor now irretrievably lost in history - a struggle he identified as: "Sisyphean." In doing so, Sekula wished to provide a message of hope: his last work contributes to imagining possible forms of solidarity in a globalized economy confronted evermore with its own limitations. The conference's participants will discuss both Sekula's oeuvre and works by other contemporary artists whose approach dialogues with his seminal legacy.

Conference Themes

The conference is organized around three thematic sections.

  • Collecting Folly
  • Maritime Failures and Imaginaries
  • Critical Realism in Dialogue

Each forms a separate session that opens up to contemporary art engaging with Sekula's influential method of making artwork as "disassembled plays" - a term he connected to the work of Bertolt Brecht, and which served to indicate that he demands a substantial productive and temporal input from the spectators who are experiencing his works.

Keynote Speakers

W.J.T. Mitchell (University of Chicago)
Marco Poloni (artist, Berlin)


Lieven Gevaert Centre
KU Leuven, Faculty of Arts
Blijde Inkomststraat 21 pb 3313
B-3000 Leuven

Lieven Gevaert Centre
UC Louvain, Archéologie et d'histoire d'art
FIAL - Place Blaise Pascal 1 bte L3.03.13
B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve