Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas & Other Warburg Inspirations

Cornell University Library | The Warburg Institute | Cornell University Press | Signale

Ten panels from the Mnemosyne Atlas

The last project of the German Jewish “cultural scientist” Aby M. Warburg (1866-1929), the Mnemosyne Atlas is an unfinished attempt to map the pathways that give art history and cosmography their pathos-laden meanings. Warburg thought this visual, metaphoric encyclopedia, with its constellations of symbolic images, would animate the viewer’s memory, imagination, and understanding of what he called “the afterlife of antiquity.”

Music inspired by Aby Warburg:

Il ruvido dettaglio celebrato da Aby Warburg (The rough detail celebrated by Aby Warburg): II. Teso, curando bene i dettagli
Mdi Ensemble

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Kaya Behkalam

ATLAS

ATLAS

Kaya Behkalam, Mikala Hyldig Dal, 2009
3x3m, 4 synchronized video projections, HD Video, 8 Channel Sound installation
(in collaboration with Cetin Güzelhan, comissioned for the exhibition “Istanbul Modern Berlin / Istanbul Next Wave” at Martin Gropius Bau Berlin, Sounddesign J. Martin)

“Atlas” is a progressing image research of iconic quotes ranging from the Kaaba in Mecca to Malevichs’ Black Square, from the alignment of the Central perspective to the vaulting lines of Turkish-Arab Calligraphy, a meditation on the reciprocity of iconisation and iconoclasm the central momentum of “modernity” and a subject of non-European cultures for centuries beforehand.
A cubic video installation presents 4 image catalogues ordered in the subdivisions “Ornament”, “Iconoclasm”, “Projections” and “Perspectives” derived from 500 years of cultural history on 4 projected canvases.
Images from Istanbul Archives and icons of Western art history are placed alongside (self)stagings of contemporary artists and visual findings from various sources and interwoven in the thematic image-carpets.

Inspired by the Image atlas Mnemosyne by Aby Warburg the continuously changing Imageflow of the installation offers a perspective on East-Western Image(his)stories and history constructions that renders visible potential and associative relations while grasping the concept of modernity as a non-linear, reciprocal and continuous process.

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