Aby Warburg. Mnemosyne Bilderatlas
Cover of the exhebition »Aby Warburg. Mnemosyne Bilderatlas«
Reconstruction – Commentary – Revision
Thu, September 01, 2016 – Sun, November 13, 2016

To mark the 150th birthday of the cultural scientist Aby Warburg (1866–1929), the ZKM is exhibiting a complete reconstruction of his Mnemosyne picture atlas in its original size. Warburg developed this comprehen­sive and unusual instrument in his last years. All 63 panels are presented for the first time with a detailed commentary, combining the findings from Warburg’s writings with an analysis of his visual language. Due to his sudden death, it was long assumed that the work was a fragment. Even at the end of the 20th century, after the panels were first published as a book, the »Mnemosyne Atlas« remained a legend. Warburg examined the »Afterlife of the Antiquity« with its foundation in European culture. In the open structure of his picture systems, he showed how images and gestures — that he called »Pathosformeln« [expressions of pathos] — were passed on across cultures and periods of time.
The atlas lists the »Wanderstrassen of culture« and follows the long voyages of images on their »vehicles«, called »Bilderfahrzeuge«: Calendars, carpets, graphics. As the first »media scientist«, he extended the art history of masterpieces to fashion, advertising and everyday culture. Pinning black and white photographic reproductions on black-strung boards, Warburg created constellations that made cross-epochal inferences visible.

In addition to Warburg’s Atlas, an artistic update of the instrument »Bildertafel« will be shown, 12 panels created specially for the exhibi­- tion by Linda Yasmine Fregni Nagler, Andy Hope 1930, Albert Oehlen, Tal R, Elfie Semotan, Sarah Lehnerer, Olaf Metzel, Christian Vind, Jannis Marwitz, Jochen Lempert, Matt Mullican, and Peter Weibel.

Artists and scientists

Andy Hope 1930, Linda Fregni-Nagler, Sarah Lehnerer, Jochen Lempert, Jannis Marwitz, Olaf Metzel, Matt Mullican, Albert Oehlen, Tal R, Elfie Semotan, Christian Vind, research group MNEMOSYNE (represented by Axel Heil, Roberto Ohrt, Christian Rothmaler, Philipp Schwalb and Regine Steenbock) and Peter Weibel.