October 22, 2020

The aura of art in the digital age | Babelia

In his essay “The Conquest of Ubiquity”, Paul Valéry glimpsed a time when art would reach us like water or electric current, “through a permanent flow of auditory and visual images that we can summon or make disappear a minimal gesture, just a sign ”. The chillingness of his expectation appears a paragraph later, when Monsieur Teste fantasizes about “innovations that will transform techniques that will affect the artist’s own invention and even produce a surprising change in our own essence.” Valéry published these lines in 1928, when Magritte was at its peak. His disturbing picture Lovers, with their two heads kissing through a cloth, appears today on celebrity t-shirts as the fashion print because, so far, no artist has come up with a more accurate image to illustrate lip loneliness than that of our concealment behind a gray integument. That same year, Picasso began his surreal period and the style, according to Alfred H. Barr, is the main means of the meaning of modern art, the influence is its main engine and the quintessential aura of the work, transferred to a highly polished bronze ( Brancusi).

Precisely the uniqueness and invariance of the work of art at the time of digitization deals with the first editorial recommendation, published in the midst of this strange was that we are seeing the birth, when it is not even known with absolute certainty (it has not been ruled out 100%). percent) if covid-19 is a manipulated virus (and no less “original”). Whatever it is, the virus – like art and water – has come into our lives with its aura intact.

The aura of art in the digital age

Against the wilt of the artwork. If, indeed, the aura contains the essence of the artwork, it may not be reproducible or falsifiable. But if the work of art has always coexisted with its technical reproduction, could there be an intermediate point between the essence of the work and its falsifiability? The Aura in the Age of Digital Materiality (Fundación Factum Arte and Silvana Editoriale) summarizes the essays of museum directors, philosophers, archaeologists and architects around the brown rot of the original work caused by its reproduction and massive exhibition. The impeccably printed volume is a kind of Bridge of Sighs between our idea of ​​an armored masterpiece and its reproduction as an image or object. Illustrations of digital restorations, facsimiles of frescoes, and sculptures (Nefertiti’s bust, Joshua Reynolds’ portrait of Ladies Waldegrave, Asurbanipal’s stele, or Canova’s horse) add further arguments about what it means to own, share, preserve and show the cultural artifacts. From here to reproduce entire palaces – a Louvre – with the same content and arrangement of works, there is only one step.

The aura of art in the digital age

We love with the liver. Valéry also paid attention to the auditory images (sensations of strident, pleasant, melancholic sounds) that, together with the visual ones, would be summoned by the art of the future. The book by José Joaquín Parra Bañón, The melancholic ear, he wonders about the expression of melancholy awaited by any buzz that incites creation and that we recognize in gestures, postures and scenarios that artists of all time have attributed to it with stains, volumes, sounds and movements. We love with the liver and the healthy and the sick are governed by it, and in the middle are the artists. And Walter Benjamin. Rembrandt reserved for his wife Saskia the feminine expression of melancholy while the first three children he had with her died; and Hopper illustrated it in his celibate ladies. Parra Bañón records a considerable number of examples of productive melancholy associated with auditory pathologies and artistic genius, so many that in the end her essay seems like a voluntarily biased fiction, indebted to Calasso, Kristeva and Sebald. He warns that melancholy never diminishes because, while it blunts our sense of sight, it increases our ability to hear ourselves.

The aura of art in the digital age

Louise Bourgeois, that guillotine. Light years away from the melancholic canon, Louise Bourgeois (Paris, 1911-New York, 2010) always maintained that art was a guarantee of sanity, a way to atone for childhood trauma, but that it had to be done in a shameless, not sentimental way. When the great weaver embroidered a I love youIt was a repairing act, not a wish (“if you break a spider web, it will not be altered, it weaves and repairs it”). His friend. the dealer Jean Frémon, devises in Come on louison an impressionist biography about the artist’s own existence as a daughter, mother, lover; all in its defectiveness. A canned banana and sardines (the fridge is empty) spread on a slice of bread, with a glass of milk, could be your food on a sultry summer day. Or the intimacy with Jerry Gorovoy, her assistant and model of the sculpture of the back arched body and from whom we discover in her current face the specter of her LB (check it out in the numerous images and videos of her that circulate on the net ). The artist loved the Puritans (“the good thing is to drop their barriers”) and the guillotines or louisones (which is how they were originally called), hence the title of this booklet, an act of love for the mother of all spiders.

The aura of art in the digital age

Mister Warburg’s Vacation. This second edition of Aby Warburg’s masks It is a critical review of the theme of travel as a central or collateral element in the historiography of the German author, specifically the one he made to the lands of the Indians village, in New Mexico. David Freeberg’s Essay Questions Warburg’s Correct Anthropological Behavior With Native Americans: How He Got The Dolls kachinas, access the sacred precincts to attend the dance of the antelopes in San Ildefonso or the ritual of the serpent of the hopi, where cameras were banned. Of all this Warburg wrote and lectured to argue his thesis on the evolution of classical paganism. To this critical vision are added some personal testimonies, the rejection of his Judaism or his almost obsessive interest in the culture of the red skins that arose to the South West after a trip to attend the wedding of his brother Paul, in 1895. The book includes photographs and notes from your personal journal. Warburg goes from being the creator of a school to an object of study under postcolonialism.

The aura of art in the digital age

Leave art to artists. “At that time no one spoke of vamp. Klimt invented the archetype of Garbo and Dietrich before they were born, ”writes influential Viennese art critic Berta Zuckerkandl-Szeps. This is just one of the testimonies of the circle close to the painter of the Viennese Secession that is included in this tiny edition of Elba, Letters, writings and testimonies, together with the artist’s private correspondence. In one of them we read his reaction after the Ministry of Education commissioned him to decorate the ceiling of the Aula Magna of the University (the three panels of Philosophy, Medicine and Jurisprudence) and later rejected it as too dramatic: ” The State should not organize exhibitions or speak on behalf of the artists, but should arbitrate, stimulate the market and leave the art to the artists, ”says this pathological graphophobic, as he himself defined himself in a few lines of“ miserable pen ”to a friend. “Men are more interesting especially in the country, in the city they are more impersonal and bland. Only the Duke of Alba seemed very nice to me (Jacobo Fitz James Stuart and Falcó (Madrid, 1878-Lausanne, 1958), owner of a rich art collection that the artist had occasion to visit. About his visit to the Congo Museum in Brussels , explains that he has seen “stuffed beasts bitchAlthough the sculptures of the Negroes of the Congo are sublime, magnificent, and it is embarrassing that, in their own way, they are more skillful than us, they left me overwhelmed. ”


TheYetoscaras of Aby Warburg. David Freedberg. Sans Soleil Editions. 220 pages.

Come on, Louison. Jean Frémon. Elba. Minor Collection. 95 pages.

The oido melancorlico. José Joaquin Parra Bañón. Athenaica. 296 pages.

The Aura in the Age of the Digital Materiality. VV. AA. Silvana Editorial / Factum Foundation. 389 pages.

Gustav Klimt. Letters, writings and testimonies. Elba. 72 pages.


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