歷史論述從來就不是自然而生的,而是有目的的引薦。藝術史學科的範疇裡,充滿著有意識的進諫,每一個新的論述出現,被探究的對象都像經歷了死亡/被遺忘然後再重生,又或如鄭秀慧強調的幽靈再現。如是,作為藝術史的實驗,阿比沃堡的「圖像(星)群」方法所指向的,牽涉到圖像的生存與復生,更準確的是圖像生與死之間的領域,徘徊在「現象」與「本體」之間的各種可能性 — 存留和改變了的、殘餘和遞變了的,以至這些碎片所構成的時間性或斷裂的線性,因而稱之為「幻象檢索」 (phantasmagoric retrieval)。阿比沃堡的「圖像(星)群」強化了時間的不純粹:用叢生的根莖、重複、徵兆等去想像會更恰當。對藝術的記憶,就是碎片之間的騰跳、淡出淡入、一時間的跌宕、倒置等,然後成「群」。本雅明的寫作裡,星群(與寓言一樣)沒有符號的所指和能指的預設關連;如此,所謂真相是沒有內在性的,而是在於現象與現象之間的相關性。作為研究的方法學,「圖像(星)群」擱置了年表、分期等結構,轉向視覺上的相似性、記憶的衝動、要體現的情感等的並置。對上述的解說,鄭秀慧透過德文 Nachleben 的不同翻譯的引伸 — 來世?留存?再生?第二世?徵兆式的幻影?幻象檢索? — 引述不同作者的闡釋作層層的剖析,進一步理解阿比沃堡的最後遺作。(黎肖嫻引序及分題撮譯)

***feature image: The Birth of St. John the Baptist (1486 – 1490). Domenico Ghirlandaio. Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy

THINK-PAD (3) 2020.06.11
Notes with expanded annotations

 

+++++++++ 反時序、生物形態力量驅策的圖像續存:阿比沃堡的藝術史實驗

‘[…] historical discourse is never “born.” It always recommences. And let us observe this: art history – the discipline which goes by that name – recommences each time. This happens, it seems, each time that the very object of its inquiry is experienced as having died… and as undergoing a rebirth.’ (Didi-Huberman, 2017)

The French art historian asserts the anachronistic and biomorphic forces of Nachleben (afterlife, survival) [i] — which runs through the lifetime scholarship of Aby Warburg — as an image’s survival and return from death. The survival of an image is always oblivion between life and death: the dialectic of what stays and of what changes; of what remains and of what metamorphoses. Nachleben is phantasmagoric retrieval; and the survival of the dead hinges on historical continuity structured on linear temporality.

The impurity of time [ii] is composed of rhizomes, of repetitions, and of symptoms. There is no linear historical narrative but constellation of memories in art.  The ghostly reappearances of image in fragmented and dispersed feature of time are the result of oblivion through ‘fade’, ‘jump’, ‘crises’, and ‘periodic reversions’. [iii]

 

+++++++++「圖像(星)群」作為方法:現象與現象之間

“Constellation” is not so much a scientific or astrological notion but rather a method of inquiry of truth.  This method was first manifested by Walter Benjamin in his assertion of an allegorical impulse in German Baroque Drama, which later became the legacy of Theodor Adorno’s critical scholarship. (Pensky 1997)

For Benjamin, the constellation, like the allegory, is the product of a theologically inflected differentiation between the phenomenal and the noumenal. It eschews the union of the material and the transcendent in the symbol. It rejects any pre-redemptive equation of word and thing, sign and referent. (Kafumann 2000)  Adorno is interested in Benjamin’s dictum of idea as interpretations of phenomena, and constellation of ideas as a way of representing truth.  Adorno suggests truth is not immanence but the correlation between phenomena; and constellation is a cognitive means to the question embedded in his claims ‘philosophy has to brings its elements […] into changing trial combinations, until they fall into a figure which can be read as an answer, while at the same time the question disappears’. (Adorno 1977)

+++++++「圖像(星)群」作為方法:沒有純粹的時間

With its dispersed and diverse combination, constellation contests the idea of linear temporality.  Image constellation is a scheme to resist the chronological structure, which defined image with periodisation, namely age.  Images that combined in a constellation are related culturally, in terms of their visual resemblance, mnemonic impulse, embodied emotion, et cetera; images survival in the flow of time, their survival anachronises history.   Image constellation impurifies past, present, and future and forms heterogeneity.

++++++被遺忘然後重生:每一個時段都有其 renaissance(=再生、復興),與所謂「古風」互通互聯

Aby Warburg’s Der Bilderatlas Mnemonsye (Mnemosyne Atlas), in recent decades, is regarded as the pioneer of study evolution of image and the dialectics forces in the discipline of art history.  This final project of Warburg, however, was not seen as academic orthodoxy in his time.  Rather than studying image with scientific notion of historical time, Warburg’s Nachleben (survival of images) resists the “spirit of the age” (die Zietgeist); the survival of image proposes timeless tension between images.  Der Bilderatlas Mnemonsye is an image atlas that channels tension between Antiquity and Renaissance.  Antiquity and Renaissance are seen as periods in historiography, in both natural and art history. However, the two notions, to Warburg, are not pure object of time whereby the style of art is defined and delimited; rather they are cultural forces that traverse all historical layers. Renaissance is impure (Didi-Humberman 2017), as Warburg stated in his notes in 1920; it is a heterogeneous mixture of elements.  Every age has its own renaissance, the term denotes the constant dialectic of “tension” and “comprises”, a cultural force not a stylistic prerequisite.

++++阿比沃堡的藝術史實驗:第 46 圖像(星)群板塊。女神。快點,拿過來! …馴化。

 

Panel 46. Nymph/Hurry-Bring-It/in the Tornabuoni Circle/ Domestification. Warburg Institute, London.

 

Panel 46 Ninfa of Der Bilderatlas Mnemonsye

Titled Nymph/ ‘Hurry-Bring-It’ in the Tornabuoni circle/Domestification, Panel 46 presents a series of variations on Ghirlandaio’s fruit-bearing ‘nymph.’ It comprises of twenty-seven images or texts with the notion of carrying or bringing; it is one of the 19 panels (from panel 30 to 49) on critical discernment of the afterlife of classical “express values” in Renaissance. Images by Filippino Lippi, Raphael, Botticelli, and even a photograph taken by Warburg of an Italian peasant woman supplement Ghirlandaio’s Birth of St. John the Baptist are dispersed in the panel. The fruit-bearing nymph in Ghirlanddaio’s painting highlights and produces the dialectics of anachronism. The panel indicates the marginal figure has mnemonic value. Warburg was not interested in aesthetics aspects of the nymph; it was the expressive gesture – the fruit-bearing, the bringing – of Renaissance and the way it survived and re-emerged in dispersed ages that engaged Warburg. It weaves long stretches of time and critical moments, of atemporal tension and survival that detours history and disapproves any chronological notion of processes.  (Didi-Huberman 2017)

One contemporary interpretation of Panel 46 is about liberation. The expressive gesture of the fruit-brining nymph in Ghirlandaio’s Birth of St. John the Baptist contrasts with the stillness of the other figures in the painting. The flowing dress of the nymph suggests an entering movement that produces oppositional dynamic. The dynamic is not only the force that made the image survives through time, but also manifests release from the shackle of narrative history and style evolution. Liberation is a cultural impulse.

+++++++從圖像續存到「幻象檢索」

Nachleben  (survival of images) concerns less of evolutionist attributes. An image survives its own death. Not a rebirth, but having disappeared at certain historical ruptures, an image reappears much later unexpectedly. Warburg’s Nachleben examines images as a form of living fossils in heterochronies. It is an unsettling and haunted rendering, thus the German art historian called his pursuit “ghost stories for grown-ups”[iv]

=======

[i] In the introduction of Aby Warburg: An Intellectual Biography, Gombrich asserts the principle of Warburg’s Nachleben der Antike concerns more with ‘survival’ but not the English usage ‘afterlife’. The dictum denotes reappearance in the Italian Renaissance of artistic forms and psychological states derived from the ancient world. (p.16) Gombrich also uses ‘revivals’ to discern Nachleben. Didi-Huberman, however, disagrees with the idea of revival envisaged in Warburg’s concept; instead of reappearing as renewal that denotes fresh perspective and a second life, the French historian proposes Warburg’s concept ‘survival of image’ to refer to a spectral return; it is not a defeat of death and come back to life, but rather survival as symptom and phantom.  (p.36)

[ii] “The Renaissance created no organic style of its own” is the radical proposition by Jacob Burckhardt.  He denotes Renaissance is impure in terms of both artistic styles and complex temporality. It is an oblivion and tension between the then ‘present’ Renaissance and recollection of Antiquity. Warburg picks up the proposition and explores it in his ideas of ‘heterogenous mixture of elements’, as when he claimed, “Each stage has the renaissance of Antiquity it deserves.” (Note 1926 of Warburg, quoted by Gombrich 1986 p.238) Didi-Huberman assimilates the notion of ‘impurity’ on the assertion of anachronistic impulse in Warburg’s Nachleben.

[iii] In the English introduction of A Bibliography on the Survival of the Classics, Edgar Wind indicates that survival presupposes an entire ensemble of operation including forgetting, transformation of meaning, exliciting of memory, and unexpected discovery.  This kind of radical and complex models of time denotes image survival is not immanency and continuity.  Wind was the member of a school of art historians associated with Aby Warburg and the Warburg Institute; his postulation of survival pertinently draws from Warburg’s legacy.

[iv]  Warburg note 1928-29 p.3, cited by Didi-Huberman.

 

Citation:

Benjamin, Walter. The Origin of German Tragic Drama. Reprinted edition.  Verso: London. 2003/2009.

Didi-Huberman, Georges. The Surviving Image : Phantoms of Time and Time of Phantoms : Aby Warburg’s History of Art. The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2017.

Gombrich, et al. Aby Warburg : an Intellectual Biography. 2nd ed., Phaidon, 1986.

Pensky, Max. The Actuality of Adorno : Critical Essays on Adorno and the Postmodern. State University of New York Press, 1997.

Adorno, Theodor. “The Actuality of Philosophy.” Telos, no. 31, 1977, pp. 120-133

Kaufmann, David. “Correlations, Constellations and the Truth: Adorno’s Ontology of Redemption.” Philosophy & Social Criticism, vol. 26, no. 5, 2000, pp. 62–80.

 

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Vennes Cheng: <THINK-PAD> series