METROMOD marks out a unique and unconventional map of life and work in exile metropolises in the first half of the 20th century: New York, Buenos Aires, London, Istanbul, Bombay (now Mumbai) and Shanghai. The project refers to urban topographies, inner-city districts, outlying suburbs and streets, to places where interactions took place, but also to the venues used for exhibitions and collaborative projects. more

30 November + 01 December 2018 Arrival Cities: Migrating Artists and New Metropolitan Topographies

Burcu Dogramaci
Metromod’s first international conference Arrival Cities: Migrating Artists and New Metropolitan Topographies will discuss the intersections of exile, artistic practice and urban space.

Over two full days, four sessions, a short-film screening and a roundtable, we will focus on “arrival cities,” (Doug Saunders, 2011) in the first half of the twentieth century. These were hubs of artistic activities and transcultural contact zones where ideas circulated, collaborations emerged and concepts developed. Taking cities as a starting point, this conference will explore how urban topographies and artistic landscapes were modified by exiled artists re-establishing their practices in metropolises across the world. International scholars will address such questions as: How did the migration of artists to different urban spaces impact their work and the historiography of art? How did the urban environments in which the artists moved and worked affect professional negotiations as well as cultural and linguistic exchange?

Download a PDF of all speakers' abstracts here.[....]

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The IIAC Archive: An important institution for research in Buenos Aires

Laura Karp Lugo
Last summer, I spent four weeks in Buenos Aires, the city in which I am focusing my research. One of the most relevant archives I visited belongs to the Instituto de Investigaciones en Arte y Cultura Dr. Norberto Griffa (IIAC) at the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero.

Thanks to Professor Diana Wechsler and Paula Hrycyk, I was given access to many archives that are still not fully inventoried. A specificity of the rich IIAC collection is that an important part of the documents is still kept in situ. For instance, the archives of the Czechoslovak sculptor Gyula Kosice (Košice, 1924 – Buenos Aires, 2016) or those of the German photographer Annemarie Heinrich (Darmstadt,  1912 - Buenos Aires, 2005). Heinrich’s archives are in her former studio (Estudio Heinrich Sanguinetti) currently held by her son and daughter, who kindly opened it for me.

Link: Archivo IIAC: Archivo Instituto de Investigación en Arte y Cultura Dr. Norberto Griffa

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Research in Mumbai: Archives and Sites

Rachel Lee
In March and April 2018, I spent four weeks in Mumbai doing archival work for my Metromod research project “Bombay Modern”. Similarly to many of the important places of the art scene I am investigating, many of the archives are situated in the Fort area of the city.
The Parisian Dairy and Soona Mahal were both in this Art Deco building on Marine Drive, photo by the author

In the Maharashtra State Archive I leafed through very old and fragile copies of the newspapers Bombay Chronicle and Times of India, searching for articles about art events and exiled artists, as well as trying to better understand how the city was portrayed in the media. At the Asiatic Society of Mumbai I found more old newspapers and a wonderful digital archive, while at the University of Mumbai library I discovered maps and a collection of rare books about the city. The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, with its unique collection of modern Indian art, proved to be a particularly good source of information on where artists lived in the city. Apart from reading through documents, I also visited sites in the city where exiled and local artists worked and met, such as Chemould Frames on Shamaldas Gandhi Marg, or the Soona Mahal and Parisian Dairy, which were in the same building that now houses Pizza by the Bay on the corner of Marine Drive and V.N. Road.

Research in Mumbai

The exiled artist Magda Nachmann Acharya’s painting featured in the Bombay Chronicle January 16, 1940, p.8, photo by the author
The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, photo by the author
The Parisian Dairy and Soona Mahal were both in this Art Deco building on Marine Drive, photo by the author
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En route to the ‘New World’: Traces of European emigration in New York during the 1930s and 1940s

Helene Roth
In September, I made my first research trip to New York. As well as spending time in archives and libraries, I also discovered the metropolis and its history of European emigration during the 1930s and 1940s.
View through the skyline of Manhattan, ©Helene Roth.

My research focuses on exiled photographers who fled to New York, searching for better working conditions, a life in freedom and the creative potential to interact with their cameras. For a deeper and closer understanding of the exodus and also the situation in New York at that time, I searched for traces by exploring the metropolis with my analogue camera… as the photographers perhaps also did after their arrival in New York. This article is the first stop of my tour on the paths of the exiled photographers where I took a look back at the history of immigration to New York.

After two very informative visits to the Museum of the City of New York and the The Jewish Museum, I learned that European emigrants (most of them were Jewish) lived in different quarters in New York including Washington Heights, Yorkville and the tenement buildings in the Lower East Side. These tenements were inhabited by different ethnic groups who had settled there following past migration movements, particularly during the peak immigration years between 1880 and 1924. Caricatures and sketches in satirical magazines like Puck show  reactions to and debates on migration, first restrictions and immigration laws. As an ‘outsider’ looking at  American history from a European perspective it was very interesting to see that the European emigration caused by National Socialism and WWII was neither the first nor most important period of American immigration history. For the next stop of my exploration I took a boat tour to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, which served as an Immigration and Detention Camp during 1892 and 1950. You can read more about this in my next story.[....]

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