30480 - Phenomenology of Contemporary Art (LM)

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being Quality education Gender equality

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

After completing the course, the student has the theoretical-methodological and historical-critical tools to understand the contemporary art from the second half of the 19th Century to the multimedia formulations of the last decades. In particular, the student is able to deal with critical awareness the study of evolution of artistic movements and the resulting changes of languages, even according to the changes of techniques and artistic practices, to develop documentary and bibliographic research in paper and digital repertories, and to produce original research and dissemination texts.

Course contents

This course will be held in the second semester, and divided into two modules of 30 hours of lessons each, corresponding to 6 credits. LM students in Visual Arts shall refer to both modules (12 credits exam), while LM students in Italian Studies, European Literary Cultures, Language Sciences only to the first module (6 credits exam).

First module (6 credits)

In the first module, the course aims to provide theoretic-methodological and historical-critical tools for understanding contemporary art from the second half of the nineteenth century until today. The succession of movements will be the starting point for reflecting on the changes of styles, techniques and artistic practices till the current immateriality trends.

Second module (6 credits exam)

The second module will be divided into two monographic parts: one concerning the applied arts and design from the fifties of the 19th century to the thirties of the 20th century; the other concerning Performing Art from the sixties up to the most recent multimedia developments.


First module

BARILLI, Renato, The Science of Culture and the Phenomenology of Styles, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal-Kingston, Canada, 2012.

BARILLI, Renato, L’arte contemporanea. Da Cézanne alle ultime tendenze, Feltrinelli, Milano, edition 2005 or following.

Second module

VITTA, Maurizio, Il progetto della bellezza. Il design fra arte e tecnica, Einaudi, Torino, 2001, till chapter VI (pp. 1-215).

VIRELLI, Giuseppe, Aubrey Beardsley. L’Enfant terrible dell’Art Nouveau, Minerva, Argelato (Bo), 2018.

G. FONTANA, N. FRANGIONE, R. ROSSINI, a cura di, Italian Performance Art. Percorsi e protagonisti della Action Art Italiana, ed. It/En, SAGEP, Genova, 2015, pp.1-207

In addition, one text chosen among the books of the following list:

S. GRANDI, A. VACCARI, Vestire il Ventennio. Moda e cultura artistica tra le due guerre, Bononia University Press, Bologna, 2004.

MANCUSO, Marco, Arte, tecnologia e scienza. Le art industries e i nuovo paradigmi di produzione nella new media art contemporanea, Mimesis, Milano, 2018.

F. ALINOVI, R. BARILLI, R. DAOLIO, M. PASQUALI, F. SOLMI, (a cura di), La performance, Catalog of the exibition, Istituzione Bologna Musei MAMbo, Bologna, reprint 2017.

A. GALANSINO et al., (a cura di), Marina Abramović. The cleaner, Catalog of the exibition at Palazzo Strozzi-Firenze, Marsilio, Venezia, 2018.

M. ABRAMOVIC et al., Marina Abramović, Catalog of the exibition held in Como, Charta, Milano, 2002, together with Marina Abramovic: performing body, Catalog of the exibition held in Rome, Charta, Milano, 1998.

M. ABRAMOVIC, J. KAPLAN, Attraversare i muri. Un’autobiografia, Bompiani, Milano, 2016.

SUBRIZI, Carla, Il corpo disperso dell’arte, Lithos, Roma, 2000.

MU, Chiara, MARTORE, Paolo, (a cura di), Performance art. Traiettorie ed esperienze internazionali, Castelvecchi, Roma, 2018.

C. MUSSO, F. NALDI, (a cura di), Frameless/Senza cornice. L’opera d’arte tra supporto, contesto e città, Danilo Montanari editore, Ravenna, 2018.

FIORILLO, Ada Patrizia, (a cura di), Arte contemporanea a Ferrara. Dalle neoavanguardie agli esiti del postmoderno, Mimesis, Milano, 2017, First and Second Section only (pp.1-275).

Teaching methods

Lectures accompanied by various audio-visual media, essential to understanding the methodology applied to the course. There will be several meetings (which students are expected to attend) with some of the authors of the books in bibliography and/or with experts from the various fields related to the course. Excursions to exhibitions related to the topics discussed in the lessons are not excluded.

Assessment methods

The exam consists of an oral interview that will be the same for all (attending students and not) to evaluate the critical and methodological abilities acquired by the students, and it will be based on the recommended bibliography. Students are expected to demonstrate the acquisition and possession of the fundamentals of the discipline and the methodological approach adopted, including the recognition of images of art works. In this regard, they are invited particularly to focus on the iconographic documentation that accompanies the exam texts and the teacher's educational material on AMS Campus.

Evaluation criteria for the interview:

1. It will be graded as excellent the performance of those students demonstrating to be able to thoroughly analyse the texts and to put them into an organic view of the topics discussed during the course. The proper use of the specific language during the examination will be also essential.

2. It will be graded as discrete the performance of those students with mostly mnemonic knowledge, no in-depth analysis capabilities and a correct, but not always appropriate, language of the recommended texts.

3. It will be graded as barely sufficient the performance of those students with approximate knowledge, superficial understanding, poor analytical capabilities and a not always appropriate language.

4. It will be graded as insufficient the performance of those students with learning gaps, inappropriate language, no orientation within the recommended bibliography.

Teaching tools

Various audiovisual aids (audio CD, image projections and digital movies).Through the AMS Campus platform, students will be provided with images and lecture-based presentations and other educational materials.

Links to further information

http://www.unibo.it/docenti/sil.grandi; http://corsi.unibo.it/Magistrale/artivisive/Pagine/default.aspx

Office hours

See the website of Silvia Grandi