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Re-Presenting Art History: An Unfinished Process
Can reenactment both as reactivation of images and restaging of exhibitions be considered an alternative way of tackling the critical task to re-present art history (i.e., to present it anew) in the here and now, over and over and over again? The gesture of restoring visibility to something no longer present, reactivating or reembodying it as an object/image in and for the present, is here proposed as a (political) act of restitution and historical recontextualization. Examining the boundaries between past and present, original and copy (as well as originality and copyright), repetition and variation, authenticity and auraticity, presence and absence, canon and appropriation, durée and transience, the paper focuses on remediation, reinterpretation, and reconstruction as creative gestures and cultural promises in contemporary art practice, curatorship, and museology.
2022. re-presentation; contemporary art; postmodernism; curatorship; art history; Aby Warburg; museology
Interruptions and discontinuity are the very essence of Aby Warburg’s conception of the temporality that affects art objects. Beneath the seemingly immobilized expressive gesture, the Hamburg scholar recognizes the vitality of the Pathosformeln that convey the intricacy of human multi-layered temporality, made of interruptions, resumptions, inversions, regressions, stops, accelerations, and survivals (Nachleben). In this sense, Warburg’s idea of ‘renewal’, which he developed from his well-known investigation of the Italian Renaissance, does not quite overlap with the notion of rebirth: an expressive gesture can re-emerge and be renewed in a different time without dying and being born a second time with a different form.
2019. Aby Warburg; Pathosformel; Nachleben; Kreuzlingen; regression