21 September 2021 - Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerpen

Seminar initiated by Athar Jaber and Ria De Boodt


'Stone sculpture is oft the material of choice because of its durability ../.. However, it has also been implemented as a faithful assistant for the enforcement of systemic violence'. This is an extract from the PhD text part by Athar Jaber. He invites guests who inspired him for this PhD 'on sculpture and violence”' or who were actively involved in it, to a symposium organised in collaboration with the Antwerp Research Institute for the Arts (ARIA) and the research group Body and Material Reinvented at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. 

The seminar will focus on the topic of Violence in a broader sense and on its representation in Art in particular. It will consist of lectures, artist’s talks and public interviews with artists and academics. International specialists, academics and artists will be each asked to give a presentation of their work. Moderated discussions with the audience will be also organised. The event will be closed by the dance performance 'Stranger' sharing different perspectives on one male’s physicality through live body performance. It is located in the fluid zone between which man he is, and as which man he is perceived by someone else. The performance zooms in and out with the only filter being our largest organ, the skin. The skin is a canvas to watch, that breathes, makes contact, and is the closest connection between ourselves and the other.

Athar Jaber is an Iraqi-Italian sculptor, professor at the academy’s sculpture department and researcher in the arts since 2015. He recently finished his PhD 'Per forza di levare. On sculpture and violence' within Body and Material Reinvented (2017-2021). 

Contributions by:

  • Prof. dr. Brad Evans (University of Bath, UK) is a political philosopher, critical theorist and writer whose work specialises on the problem of violence.
  • Dra. Nat Muller (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) is an independent curator, writer, academic and expert in contemporary art from the Middle East.
  • At least two different artists whose artistic practice is strongly related to violence e.g. in the Middle East and in general 
  • Karel Tuytschaever (Royal Conservatoire Antwerp) is a drama professor, researcher and performer.
  • Laurent Delom de Mézerac (Royal Conservatoire Antwerp) is a dancer now based in Paris.


  • 14:00 Welcome by Prof. dr. Pascal Gielen or Prof. dr. Bart Eeckhout, Antwerp Research Institute of the Arts, University of Antwerp
  • 14:05 Introduction by Prof. dr. Gert Verschraegen UAntwerp supervisor and/or dr. Ria De Boodt, AP supervisor of PhD Athar Jaber
  • 14:15 'Per forza di levare. On sculpture and violence', a PhD film by Athar Jaber
  • 14:45 Brad Evans interviewing Athar Jaber + Q&A guided by Nat Muller
  • 16:15 Afternoon tea break
  • 16:30 Online intervention by artist 1 + Q&A guided by Nat Muller (*)
  • 17:30 Online intervention by artist 2 + Q&A guided by Nat Muller (*)
  • 18:30 Supper break for invited guests
  • 20:00 'Stranger' live performance by BARRY and Laurent Delom
  • 22:00 End

(*) Due to international travel restrictions caused by covid measures this part of the programme will be streamed.

The seminar will be part of the Open Laboratory Weeks organised by the research group Body and Material Reinvented at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp from Tuesday 21 September to Friday 8 October 2021 included except for the weekends.