Dead or Alive [Hardback]

Maria Fabricius Hansen (Editor); Rosanna Tindbæk (Editor); Gundhild Ravn Borggreen (Editor)

ISBN: 9788771843514 | Published by: Aarhus University Press | Year of Publication: 2020 | Language: English 304p, H250 x W200 (mm)

Dead or Alive


The image is an ontological paradox; it is made of dead matter, yet simultaneously appears to be alive. For millennia, artists have created images of the living world – images that are static and yet possess the power to bring to life a frozen moment in time. While this tension has constituted a fundamental challenge for as long as theories on the nature of images have existed, recent scholarship has rekindled interest into the question of what images ‘do to us’. Despite the rational discourse of Modernity, we must acknowledge that we view images as half-living entities. This book addresses the perpetual relevance of images' enigmatic life-likeness by presenting a selection of articles that engage with a variety of visual material by asking the same question: what qualifies animation? Covering a wide range of image practices, such as early paleolithic stone engravings, medieval tomb sculpture, renaissance death masks and baroque painting to modern fashion, park design, early cinema and BioArt, the twelve chapters, written by scholars of art history and visual culture, demonstrate that the ontological paradox of the image is not limited to a specific historical period or certain types of images, but can be seen throughout the history of images across different cultures.

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