9 Sep 2015

Georges Didi-Huberman, Elusive nymphs

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Where and when

9September 2015



Wednesday 9 September at 18.00 – Elusive Nymphs – Lectio Magistralis

Palazzo Vecchio, Salone dei Cinquecento, Firenze suona contemporanea

Georges Didi-Huberman is a French art historian whose research embraces the visual arts, art historiography, psychoanalysis, the humanities and philosophy. He studied art history and philosophy at the Université de Lyon and earned his doctorate from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris in 1981, under the guidance of Louis Marin. In his work Didi-Huberman deepens three themes: a critical reading of the tradition of art history, the localization of an alternative philosophy of images in the work of Sigmund Freud and Aby Warburg, and studies in the poetics of contemporary art.

Focusing on the history and theory of images as well as the history of anthropology and psychoanalysis from the Renaissance to contemporary art, Didi-Huberman emphasizes the problems of iconography in the nineteenth century and their reception and transformation in the artistic currents of the twentieth century. In his books on the metapsychology of the image (“Ce que nous Voyons, ce qui nous regarde”, “What we see, what we look at” of 1992), or Modern Nymph, Essai sur le drapé tombé, “Modern Nymph. Essay on the fallen drapery”) Didi-Huberman assumes a hermeneutic and phenomenological perspective and reflects on the works of Aby Warburg, Walter Benjamin and Georges Bataille in reference to an aesthetic of reception and production.

With his investigations, Didi-Huberman contributes significantly to broadening the methodologies of art history and fine arts. His investigations into the implications of psychoanalysis for the study of images, in particular on the concept of symptom, open, both for the history of art and fine arts, towards a theory and philosophy of the image that does not neglect the psychological aspects of art and gaze.

Extract from the lecture magistralis “Elusive Nynphs”

“… Whether they are carved in marble, fixed under the color of the painter or they are parading out of the cinema projector, the images flow and flow: they live on a backwash movement that makes them very close (caressing, intimate) and very far away (mysterious, withdrawn). Such is their essential quality <>, as it is found in every Birth of Venus. The images rotate, they move here and elsewhere, they withdraw and come back to us until they rewind in the<> of our unconscious psychicisms, outside of our sight, since at the center of ourselves…

… Ninfa fluida è così: sempre sfuggente, ma sempre presente. Viene e ritorna. Sopravvive. Infatti ciò che dura di più, più a lungo, non è un fluido o <> fluida? Nel lungo confronto tra mare e promontorio è certamente il promontorio che un giorno sprofonderà, anche se oggi lo vediamo lì a incutere soggezione, enorme, fallico. Il mare <<durerà>> proprio perché non è <>, perché non si impone come un blocco e trae la sua forza solo dalla sua capacità di ritirarla, in questo incessante movimento di risacca, di flusso e riflusso. Ninfa fluida è così: antica e perduta, eppure sempre presente, qui, fino a noi. Quindi nostra contemporanea, ma sempre, nel suo stesso desiderio, alla ricerca del tempo perduto…” Georges Didi-Huberman

Georges Didi-Huberman

In collaboration with con Institut Français Firenze

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