“Nouvelles histoires de fantômes” (“New Ghost Stories”) is an installation by renowned French art historian and philosopher Georges Didi-Huberman and photographer Arno Gisinger, currently displayed at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, France.
Somewhere in the middle between a single artwork and the display of a collection, the installation creates a link between the legendary Atlas Mnemosyne by early 20th century art historian Aby Warburg and contemporary curatorial practices, amatorial or not, visually reminding even emerging social-media platforms such as Tumblr or Pinterest. The subject of the exhibition comes from the original plate 42 of the Mnemosyne Atlas “Pathos of suffering in energetic inversion…” a collection of images about the subject of mourning and aimed at showing “the energy and the dynamism appropriated to the gesture of lamentation“. The plate included works by Donatello, Mantegna and Verrocchio among many others.
In “Nouvelles histoires de fantômes”, the theme is updated with more recent visual references, borrowed from cinema, photography and contemporary art, which establish a silent dialogue between contemporary expressions and masterpieces from the past. The different images, all interpreting the act of mourning, are presented in various sizes and arranged on the floor of the curbed room within the exhibition centre. The atlas becomes an immersive experience, with pictures and videos that can be explored literally wandering through them on the ground floor or walking through the mezzanine and thus getting a general sense of how the works together compose, in fact, an atlas. There’s a large range of pieces, from Pasolini’s “Medea” (1969) or “La Rabbia” (“Rage” – 1963), to fragments of Eisenstein’s movies and Bas Jan Ander’s “I’m too sad to tell you” (1971); but the list is much longer. On the walls, Arno Gisinger’s photographs, developed as an interpretation of Didi-Huberman’s works on the theme of the atlas, complete the exhibition. The title is borrowed from a quote of Aby Warburg, who referred to his photographic Atlas as a “ghost story for the full grown-up” (Mnemosyne. Grundbegriffe, II, 2 July 1929).
“Today (…) it is up to us to recompose “New Ghost Stories,” a task incumbent on artists, philosophers and historians alike. One that needs to be constantly redone in order to enable us to understand that we only experience our present through the combined movements, the montages of our memories (gestures we make toward the past) and those of our desires (gestures we make toward the future). The images should then be considered as potential crossroads of all these combined gestures.” (Didi Huberman)
“Nouvelles histoires de fantômes” is visible at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris until 07/09/2014.
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