Artistic Reconfigurations of Rome

An Alternative Guide to the Eternal City, 1989-2014


Author: Kaspar Thormod
In Artistic Reconfigurations of Rome Kaspar Thormod examines how visions of Rome manifest themselves in artworks produced by international artists who have stayed at the city’s foreign academies. Structured as an alternative guide to Rome, the book represents an interdisciplinary approach to creating a dynamic visual history that brings into view facets of the city’s diverse contemporary character. Thormod demonstrates that when artists successfully reconfigure Rome they provide us with visions that, being anchored in a present, undermine the connotations of permanence and immovability that cling to the ‘Eternal City’ epithet. Looking at the work of these artists, the reader is invited to engage critically with the question: what is Rome today? – or perhaps better: what can Rome be?

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Kaspar Thormod, Ph.D. (2018), European University Institute, is a scholar and freelance writer. He is the recipient of the Carlsberg Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Denmark, 2019–2021. He is also the author of a novel, Rom falder (2012).
Preface by Mieke Bal
List of Illustrations
Inventory of Artists

Introduction: International artists in Rome
 1 Roman Historiography
 2 Foreign Academies and International Artists
 3 The Contemporary
 4 Close Engagement with Artworks
 5 Comments on the Sources

1 Institutions: Making the Foreign Academies in Rome
 1 Transforming the Locale
 2 Institutional Critique
 3 Making Institutions

2 Sites: Negotiating the Spectacle of Rome
 1 Defamiliarisation Strategies
 2 Projections
 3 Globalised Landscapes
 4 Reconfiguring Roman Sites

3 People: Portraying the Romans
 1 Visitors and Locals
 2 Inmates and Partners
 3 Double Portrait
 4 The Potential of Contemporary Portraiture

4 History: Re-envisioning Roman Narratives
 1 Material Matters
 2 Machines, Gods and Ghosts
 3 Touching at a Distance
 4 Twisted Narratives
 5 Critical Reflections on Historical Narratives

5 Art: Creating a Rome of One’s Own
 1 Spoliation
 2 Copiously Copied
 3 Critical Re-stagings
 4 New (After)Life

Epilogue: Rome Maps
The book appeals to scholars from disciplines including art history, cultural studies, Italian history, spatial theory and urban theory/history, as well as to general readers interested in Rome/contemporary art.