European Artists in Postwar Exile,
The Center for European Studies at the University of Florida is pleased to announce the conference “European Artists in Postwar Exile,” to be held at the University of Florida, March 8–9, 2024.
Transylvania-born composer Györgi Ligeti (1923–2006) fled Hungary, on foot, under the cover of darkness, after the catastrophic failed revolution of late 1956. A composer whose family was subject to internment and death under the Nazi regime during WWII, whose flourishing artistic career was uprooted by Hungarian People’s Republic’s subordination to the Soviet regime, adapted his life and work to the disorienting experience of exile.
Times of war, political unrest, ecological devastation, famine, or intolerance continue to drive hundreds of millions of people out of their homelands to more open, tolerant cities and states. Being confronted with a completely new lingual, political, cultural, economic, private, and intellectual environments has a fundamental influence on the circumstances in which artists in exile produce their work. Many of them deal directly with this confrontation in their art. Living in exile can provide new productive avenues and have a positive effect on an artist’s creative work. Ligeti, for example, lived and worked in Vienna and Hamburg and produced some of the twentieth century’s most innovative musical works, yet grappled with concepts of identity and reconciliation (or lack thereof) in his music and writings.
The celebration of Ligeti’s 2023 centenary serves as a launching pad for a multidisciplinary conference on “European Artists* in Postwar Exile,” examining the significance of the political and social conditions under which artists live and work, as well as framing the role, cultural significance, and the limits they face.
This conference deals with the artistic contributions and socio-cultural, or political, systems that affected (European) artists in exile (in Europe) in the postwar era, with special focus given to those whose country-of-origin was a former Soviet satellite state. The conference will feature a musical performance by Dr. Joseph Bognar, Professor and Chair of the Music Department at Valparaiso University, exploring Ligeti’s compositions and influence.
*Art/artist conceived broadly, to include poets, painters or playwrights, composers or ceramicists, and writers and thinkers in between.
Presentations welcomed from the fields of arts, art history, political science, history, Jewish studies, literary studies, media studies, migration studies, (ethno)musicology, sociology, and others. The conference space will be equipped with audio/visual projection capabilities.