“Tell me whom you haunt and I’ll tell you who you are”: Aby Warburg, Memory and Artistic Practices in the 21st Century | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online


In the last two decades, Aby Warburg (1866-1929) has become one of the main protagonists of not just art history but Humanities at large. In recent years, artists have also been turning their faces towards Warburg, continuously making references to his last and unfinished project: Mnemosyne Atlas (1927-1929). This paper will claim that this is due to similarities between artists’ increasing interest in intervening into narratives of the past, and Warburg’s conception of cultural memory in Mnemosyne, which was the accumulation of his life-long interests. In this regard, the paper will argue that both for Warburg and artistic practices, cultural memory is a dynamic process in which images act on creating new pathways into the past; and in return alternative understandings of the past in the present.


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