ISSN: 20403682
First published in 2010
2 issues per volume
Volume 8 Issue 1-2
Cover Date: October 2017
Dancer in a laboratory of images: Aby Warburg’s performative didactics
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Authors:  Uwe Fleckner 
DOI: 10.1386/pop.8.1-2.17_1

Aby Warburg,Mnemosyne,exhibition display,didactic method,word and image,photographic reproduction

The image plates that Aby Warburg produced during the closing years of his life and his complex use of photographic reproductions were a completely new, experimental medium in art-history research. The essay deals with the visual rhetoric of this medium, with its both polyphonic and multifocal argumentation structure. Warburg’s plates are arranged into compositions whose distinct syntax does not follow any linguistic models and in many of the plates Warburg’s notion of polarity in art history is expressed through utterly conflicting, inversive perspectives on the pictorial material. They document how deeply devoted the art historian was to pictures in which humanity had sought to exorcise inexplicable and hence threatening phenomena, the emotions of the inner and the demons (‘monstra’) of the outer world. The specific impact of his series of pictures and exhibitions shows that Warburg developed a demonstration procedure that was highly performative.
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