HKUA03612U Art History: Just about "What images do"

Volume 2013/2014
History of Art

"Image" (including its cognates Bild, beeld, imago, eikon and the derivatives) is polysemic and highly ambiguous. The ambivalence and the power of images have been constantly under scrutiny within various international fora. The capacity of images “to explode signification” (Mitchell) as shown in their more recent manifestations is immense. The flow of images threatens to crush any look. But as the French art historian Didi-Huberman has long time ago advised: "In front of each image one should ask how she (the image) looks (at us), how she reflects (us) and at the same time, how she touches (us)." Yet one must perhaps ask how different Didi-Huberman’s vision is from Mitchell’s own view of “the lives and the loves” of images from his book What Do Pictures Want? Certainly, this crisscrossing view and reversal of patterns broadens the scope of the historical vision to multiply the points of view, and thus it must be also explored.
In the perspective of the Spring International Symposium What Images Do, organized by The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, DK (March 19-21, 2014), this course takes the opportunity to set up a teaching and research forum around some of the most important moments in the history of images, and their theoretical turns in approaching the nature and the complicated mechanism of images. Thus, we may move from Iconic and Pictorial Turn, to the Anthropological Turn, exploring Didi-Huberman’s concept of montage (“cinématisme”) of images, finally touching on the most recent turn in the dynamics of image (Transvisuality), defined by a group of Danish scholars addressing the transformation of the ”visual” which becomes ”transvisual” by ”adapting and creating culture in the global, translocal world.”
The main concern of the course will be the question how to reflect and build up a critical reading of images, how to make images "resonate" (Mitchell). Eventually, inspired by Didi-Huberman’s own research, to attempt « to extract a historical visibility » of images, eminently present, and resistant to the temporal dimension of image.

Selected Bibliography: Keith Moxey, “Visual Studies and the Iconic Turn,” Journal of Visual Culture, Vol. 7, No. 2, 131-146 (2008); Hans Belting, Toward an Anthropology of the Image, Anthropologies of Art, Clark Studies in the Visual Arts, Yale University Press, 2005, pp. 41-58; Mitchell, W.J.T. (2002), “Showing Seeing: A Critique of Visual Culture,“ What Do Pictures Want? The Lives and Loves of Images. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 336-356; Hans Belting, “Image, Medium, Body: A New Approach to Iconology,” Critical Inquiry 31. 2 (Winter 2005): 302-319; Edgar Wind, Warburg’s Concept of Kulturwissenschaft and its Meaning for Aesthetics, in The Eloquence of Symbols Studies in Humanist Art, Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1993, pp. 21-35; G. Didi-Huberman, “Artistic Survival. Panofsky vs. Warburg and the Exorcism of Impure Time,” Common Knowledge 9:2 (2003), 273-285; Georges Didi-Huberman, “The surviving image: Aby Warburg and Tylorian anthropology,” Oxford Art Journal, v. 25, nr. 1 (2000), 59-70; Georges Didi-Huberman, “Dialektik des Monstrums: Aby Wargurg and the Symptom paradigm,” Art History, v. 24, nr. 5 (nov. 2001), 621-645; Georges Didi-Huberman, The Supposition of the Aura: The Now, The Then, and Modernity, in Negociating Rapture. The Power of Art to Transform Lives, R. Francis (dir.), Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, 1996, pp. 48-63; Didi-Huberman, Remontages du temps subi (L’œil de l’histoire, 2), Paris, Minuit, 2010 ; Tore Kristensen, Anders Michelsen, Frauke Wiegand (eds.), Transvisuality - The Cultural Dimension of Visuality (Volume 1): Boundaries and Creative Openings, Liverpool University Press, 2013

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 84
  • Guidance
  • 1
  • Lectures
  • 33
  • Preparation
  • 302
  • Total
  • 420
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assesment