The Mnemosyne Atlas as a Source of Inspiration for Contemporary Art on the Example of Goshka Macugas Work
Atlas Mnemosyne jako źródło inspiracji w sztuce współczesnej na przykładzie twórczości Goshki Macugi
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The present paper is an attempt at showing the inspiration drawn by contemporary art from Aby Warburgs Mnemosyne Atlas, compiled in the 1920S. These influences will be exemplified by the work of Goshka Macuga. The interest of the artist in the German art historian has been constantly manifested in a direct manner: her installations or collages feature photographic images of the scholar or the objects of his research. Worthy of mention is also the trip that Macuga undertook retracing Warburgs expedition to study the Hopi Indians. On closer inspection, Macugas work shows that these inspirations reach much further and are manifested also in the message carried by her works, reflecting the practices used by Warburg while compiling his magnum opus, the Mnemosyne Atlas. The basis for an interpretation of black-and-white plates, applied in the present paper, was the work of the French philosopher Georges Didi-Huberman who not only has contributed crucial texts on the contemporary reception of the Mnemosyne Atlas, of key importance for the present discussion, but has interpreted Warburgs oeuvre in a practical manner as well. The exhibition, Atlas: How to Carry the World on Ones Backl, curated by him, is the hitherto most extensive direct reception of the Mnemosyne Atlas. Formal references to Warburg s Mnemosyne Atlas in Macugas work were never intended to be as straightforward as in the case of Didi-Hubermans work. Yet, a detailed analysis reyeals that a resemblance of certain features cannot be accidental. Anachronisms, the lack of hierarchy of the compared elements, no real between the materiał and metaphysical worlds, and an attempt at finding a certain uniyersality in the real world are just a handful of such similarities. Together they contribute to Goshka Macugas artistic practices being an alternative for a traditional archiyal research.
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