CIHA 2016 in Beijing

34th World Congress of Art History

About History Press Release Sessions Schedule Activities Participants Venue Discussion Registration Closed


GEE, Gabriel
The Late 20th Century Marine: "Forgotten Spaces" and Trans-industrial Visions.

Session 11 Landscape and Spectacle

Franklin University


The genre of maritime painting developed exponentially from the 17th century onwards. Focussing on the representation of the sea, ships, coastal and harbour scenes, the genre accompanied the rise of Dutch and British maritime powers. A certain correlation links the growth of the marine and the implementation of a new vision of the world, where distant spaces became connected as mere anchorages through communication channels within ‘deterritorialised’ empires. In the second half of the 20th century, industrial and technological transformations further modified the morphology of maritime transportation and communication. The perception and imagination of maritime landscapes, ships, and identities of port cities significantly shifted with the advent of transatlantic flights and disconnected port terminals.

This paper aims to reflect on the novel forms of marine art emerging in the late 20th century. Artists engaging with seascapes and port cities in the second half of the century have explored the superposition of past physical and mental textures inherited from the industrial revolution with new post-Fordist flexible mode of economic and cultural organisation, in an increasingly interconnected and urbanised world. How can we define the characteristics of a late 20th century marine, and how does this marine articulate and construct the changing imaginaries of port cities and maritime landscapes?