Course Syllabus

Modern Frames:

European Art and Cinema 

DIS Logo


Semester & Location:

FALL 2019 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Art & Visual Culture Core Course - 3 credits

Study Tour:

Prague and Vienna

Major Disciplines:

Art History, Film Studies, Media Studies 

Faculty Members:

Andrea Homann & Morten Egholm

Program Coordinator:

Katrine Trolle - 

Time & Place:

Mondays & Thursdays 08:30-09:50 in V10-A13  

Course Description

From the great auteurs in European filmmaking to the provocateurs of the contemporary art scene, this course examines artistic practices in European cinema and visual arts. What role do art house film and art movements play in 20th and 21st century Europe? How are aesthetics influenced by the changing political landscape? How are intellectuals and artists working during and after Socialism? When do visual arts go beyond consumerism? We will do a case study of subversive art in post-communist Prague and meet with Danish directors to discuss film in the late-capitalist era.

Core Course Week including Short Study Tour

The theme of the core course week is Nordic Visual Arts. We start out with a two-day seminar in Copenhagen, focusing on the role of art and cinema in the Nordic countries. The week continues with a three-day study tour to Western Denmark, where we visit AROS, Museum of Modern Art and Øst for Paradis, Art House Movie Theatre in Aarhus.

Long Study Tour Destinations


Prague and its Gothic cityscape is an established home for leading artists, film directors, and intellectuals, and the city has a lively artistic subculture. We will utilize post-communist Prague as a case study to identify artistic expression in European cinema and visual arts. Furthermore, we will examine the role of art house film and art movements in 20th and 21st century Europe through visits to relevant institutions: DOX Center for Contemporay Art, The Film Department at The Charles University, and lectures and discussions with Filip Remunda, director of Czech Dream, and contemporary local artists.


Vienna offers an opportunity to interpret the layers of history, from the Baroque city created during the Habsburg Empire to Viennese Actionism. How has radical art undermined and questioned the former imperial city and helped to manifest Vienna as a significant place for contemporary culture in Central Europe? We will explore the relations of Austria and the Czech Republic through the lens of selected artists, such as Egon Schiele, and visit The Film Archive Austria.


Andrea Homann (

Dipl.-Ing. (Apparel Engineering/Fashion Design, FH Mönchengladbach, 1989). 1989-1990 Designer at Westfalenstoffe, Münster/Germany, 1990-1993, Educator at the Museum of Contemporay Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. Since 1994, Educator at the Danish National Gallery (Statens Museum for Kunst). With DIS since 1997.

Morten Egholm (

Ph. D., Film Studies, University of Copenhagen, 2009. Cand. mag., Scandinavian Studies, Film and Media Theory, University of Copenhagen, 1997. Associate professor, Danish Language, Literature and Culture, University of Groningen, The Netherlands, 2002-2006. Has written several articles in Danish, English and Dutch on film history, Danish literature, Danish mentality, and Danish TV series. Editor of the film journal Kosmorama 2010-15. With DIS since 2008, since January 2012 as full time faculty.

Course Objectives

  • Gain knowledge of the varied manifestations and historical development of modern and contemporary art and film
  • Critically evaluate visual culture in the context of current Nordic and larger European issues
  • Acquire the ability to formally analyze and discuss specific works and different media
  • Practice critical discourse during study tours and classroom sessions
  • Enable students in written and oral assignments to discuss and elaborate on the visual qualities and contexts of artistic practice

Course Format

This section will meet 18 times during the semester and additional educational time will take place as students travel with faculty through Denmark and Europe. The 18 sessions will be a mix of classroom teaching, field studies to museums, and film screenings.

Field Studies

Visits to contemporary art institutions, artist studios, and film screenings.

Course Requirements

Each student will be assigned a time to give an oral presentation in class while on the long study tour that will reflect a particular aspect or academic interest related to the tour destination.

Each student will produce a longer research paper that focuses on an individually developed topic that relates closely to the course and is handed in at the end of the semester.

A work analysis paper during core course week.

In-class exam with factual and short essay analytical questions.

To be eligible for a passing grade in this class you must complete all of the assigned work.

Grade Components



Midterm exam


Oral presentation


Short paper


Research paper


Participation grade


Classroom Etiquette

The use of distracting devices (smartphones, iPads, laptops, etc.) is strictly prohibited during class. Failure to comply will adversely affect participation grades. Use of laptops for the purpose of note-taking requires prior consultation with the professor. Students should refrain from all other computer activities, as they prove distracting to themselves and fellow students. Mobile phones and other electronic devices should of course be turned off and stored away.

Course Topics

Rethink Relations – Visual Arts beyond the Frame of Tradition

Based on a selection of case studies, such as arthouse films and participatory art projects, we will both analyze and critically evaluate how artists are expanding the traditional use of media and how they develop artistic expression beyond mainstream in Denmark and other Nordic countries.

Modern Frames – The Changing Contexts of Contemporary Artistic Practice

What happens to the realist tradition when European artists visualize the absurd and create works that deliberately explore the world beyond reason?

How does consumerism shape contemporary visual culture? What is subversive art and how does it relate to cultural institutions?

Central European Culture during and after Communism

How is artistic production affected by a strict regime of political ideology and repression, and which changes can be observed after the wall came down and the countries were reshaped with new borders?

Film Viewings

Please note that it is mandatory to watch each film before the relevant class. Below you will find a schedule of film viewings that allows you the opportunity to view the films together as a class – on a (relatively) big screen. If, for some reason, you are unable to attend a viewing or would like to see a particular film again, it will be available on reserve in a specific semester shelf at the Library (ask one of the librarians). Keep in mind that these films act as the texts of this course and it is therefore necessary to watch each film attentively (i.e. take notes) before the class sessions in which it will be discussed.

Each film will be screened once, at 4.15 pm on the given date in The DIS Movie Theatre in the library, Vestergade 23 (unless otherwise noted):

Viewing Dates:

Friday, August 23
The Celebration On Canvas
Wednesday, September 4
Melancholia DVD in DIS Library
Monday, September 9: CORE COURSE WEEK The Square
Watching together
Short Study Tour: CORE COURSE WEEK Århus By Night Watching together

Wednesday, September 25

Laika DVD in DIS Library
Friday, September 27
Closely Watched Trains
On Canvas
Wednesday, October 16
The Third Man
On Canvas
Wedndesday, October 23
Czech Dream
DVD in DIS Library
Wednesday, November 6 at 5:00pm
Amour Fou On Canvas
Wednesday, November 13
The Great Beauty
DVD in DIS Library

Required Reading

Angkjær Jørgensen, Ulla and Bodil Stavning Thomsen, The Body as ”The Place of Passage”, On Spatial Construction of Time in Olafur Eliasson’s Installations, in Globalizing Art, Aarhus University Press, 2011, pp. 87-104.

Badura Triska, Eva: The Fruits of Repression, in Body, Psyche and Taboo, Vienna Actionism and Early Vienna Modernism, Walther König, Köln, 2016, p.9-23.

Bazin, André: The Evolution of the Language of Cinema, From What is Cinema, Film Theory and Criticism, Introductory Readings, 4th ed., Oxford University Press, 1992, p.155-167.

Berger, Doris: Superflex´s Tools, 2003

Bingham, Adam: Jiri Menzel in Directory of World Cinema: East Europe, 2011,Mast & Kawin (2011), p.436-440.

Bishop, Claire: The Social Turn: Collaboration and its Discontents,in Artificial Hells,Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship, London, Verso, 2012, p.11-40.

Bordwell, David: The Art Cinema as a Mode of Film Practice, Film Criticism, Vol.4 issue 1, Allegheny College,1979,p. 716-724.

Bydzovska, Lenka: Against the Current. The story of the Surrealist Group of Czechoslovakia, 2005

Comini,Alessandra: Egon Schiele: Redefining Portraiture in the Age of Angst, in Egon Schiele Portraits, Prestel, 2014, pp.15-38.

Dassanowsky, Robert von and Oliver C. Speck: New Austrian Film: The Non-exceptional Exception (excerpts)

Deleuze, Gilles: Cinema I, Bloomsbury Academic, 2013, p. 1-12

Eliasson, Olafur: Your Engagement has Consequences, 2008

Elwes, Catherine: Introduction, Video Installation, in Installation and the Moving Image, 2015. P.1-10, p.226-252.

Export Valie: Expanded Cinema as Expanded Reality, 2003.

Hames, Peter: The Czechoslovak New Wave, Introduction, Wallflower Press,2005,p.1-9;p.151-166.

Hames, Peter: Czech and Slovak Cinema,Introduction, Chapter 10 Animation, Edinburgh University Press, 2010,p.1-13.

Lamac, Miroslav Czech Cubism: Points of Departure and Resolution, 1990, 54-63.

Mast, Gerald and Bruce F. Kawin, A Short History of the Movies, Pearson, 2010 (excerpts)

Micchelli,Thomas: Blood and Soil: Vienna Actionisms Dangerous Game, September 13, 2014.,

Camilla: Between Visibility and Invisibility, ,in Strude,exhibit cat. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, 2010

Natter, Tobias Gustav Klimt – No More Than A Goldsmith? In Gustav Klimt: Painting, Design, and Modern Life, Tate, London, 2008, 12-23, 236-237.

Schacter, Rafael: Graffiti and Street Art as Ornament, in  Ian Jeffrey Ross (ed.): Routledge Handbook of Graffiti and Street Art, Routledge, New York, 2016

Von Hantelmann, Dorothea . “The Experiential Turn.” In On Performativity, edited by Elizabeth Carpenter. Vol. 1 of Living Collections Catalogue. Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, 2014.

Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:


DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -


Course Summary:

Date Details