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Prof. Dr. Victoria Ferentinou (University of Ioannina): "Colours are things" - the visionary art of Frixos Aristeus

  • 2021-05-18
  • 18:00
  • Zoom

Prof. Dr. Victoria Ferentinou, University of Ioannina 

“Colours are things”: the visionary art of Frixos Aristeus

Start: 2021-05-18, 18:00 CEST 

Location: Zoom 

The lecture will focus on the underrated Greek painter Frixos Aristeus (1879-1951) whose work reflects a religious and epistemological search responsive to the turn-of-the-century occult revival. It will contextualise Aristeus’s oeuvre by highlighting the historical specificities of the interaction between occultism and Greek symbolism in the early twentieth century. It will be specifically concerned with the ways Aristeus integrated theosophical and spiritualist ideas into his art theoretical treatise, Light from Darkness and Darkness from Light (mid-1930s). Aristeus preferred a representational art expressive of spiritual ideas that also characterised the work of other theosophically-influenced artists of his era. In this theorising, he absorbed occult concepts about colours and their qualities elaborating on their value as spiritual principles. The lecture aspires to situate Aristeus’s theoretical enterprise in the context of modern art theory, shedding light on questions of figuration and abstraction, and by extension the aestheticisation of occult tropes by contemporary visual artists. 

This lecture series is organized by Chloë Sugden, Jonas Stähelin and Prof. Dr. Andreas Kilcher as part of the SNSF project, "Scientification and Aestheticization of 'Esotericism' in the long 19th century".

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Aesthetic and Scientific Epistemologies of the Occult in the XIX Century

ETH Online Lecture Series, Spring 2021

We invite you to the Spring 2021 edition of our ongoing lecture series, as we continue our enquiry into aesthetic and scientific epistemologies of the occult during the long nineteenth century. On Tuesday evenings in May, through our second online series, we present approaches to the subject that combine methodologies drawn from art history, religious studies, media theory, anthropology and science studies. In our first lecture, anthropologist, Ehler Voss will take a look at the opposing views of two Californian magicians by relating them to nineteenth-century debates surrounding the credibility of magical practices. In the second lecture, with an approach similarly grounded in religious anthropology, Erin Yerby will investigate the role of the body as medium in the American Spiritualist tradition, which she contextualizes within broader Protestant-inflected iconoclastic tradition. In our third lecture, art historian, Victoria Ferentinou will explore the influence of esoteric discourses on artistic theory and practice of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her focus will be on the painting and theory of the Greek symbolist, Frixos Aristeus (1879-1951). Finally, in the fourth lecture, historian of religion, Marco Pasi will consider the presence of occult-related themes in the oeuvre of the late contemporary artist, Chiara Fumai (1978-2017).


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Prof. Dr. Ehler Voss, University of Bremen

“Magic Tipping Points. On Deceptions and Detections.”

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Dr. Erin Yerby, Rice University

“The Body as Spectral Shape: Spiritualist Mediumship and Anglo-American Iconoclasm.”

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Prof. Dr. Victoria Ferentinou, University of Ioannina

“‘Colours are Things’: The Visionary Art of Frixos Aristeus.”

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Prof. Dr. Marco Pasi, University of Amsterdam

“‘Witchcraft with Capital W’: The Magical Art of Chiara Fumai.”

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