Displaced Images: The Modern Faces of Art

Displaced Images: The Modern Faces of Art

The fact that images move around, that they are transported from one place to another, is commonplace in the context of ritual, religious processions. If they are removed from their original or current location violently or against the will of their owners, it is considered art theft. In spite of all their differences, these two contexts are distinguished by one thing: within (Western) Modernism, they stand for isolated, contextually-bound moments that do not appear to represent normal contemporary art experiences. Far more prominent here is the topos of the picture securely hung on a wall. By closer inspection, however, the general atmosphere quickly unravels: unlike what influential hypotheses and theories suggest (or would like to suggest), the seemingly immobile modern images, the so-called “classical” panel paintings, in particular, both initiate and are part of astonishingly dynamic configurations. However, their mobility seems to be pushed into the shadows by what are still referred to as the “new media” and their “moving images.” These blind spots reveal influential modernist narrative patterns, which demand closer study. This immobilization is forced and has far-reaching implications for how we think about images and the location of the aesthetic experience. The showplaces of art are neither rigid nor new: images that change location permeate the twentieth century and offer a different perspective on modern art. At the same time, as “displaced images,” they are a revealing symptom of the present.

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Dr. Lena Bader

Dr. Lena Bader

Research department director
Phone +33 (0)1 42 60 41 22