Georges Didi-Huberman (b. 1953)
Philosopher and art historian, lectures "visual anthropology" at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris.
Over the past two decades, he has carried out a thorough review of the Vasarian, Panofskian and neo-Kantian principles to which art history is accustomed. In works such as Devant l'image (1990; Confronting images, 2009), L'Image Survivante (2002) or Images malgré tout (2003; Images in spite of all, 2008; pt. trans. 2012), and backed by theoretical references such as Warburg, Benjamin, Freud and Deleuze, Didi-Huberman has assumed the side of an interpretative approach that considers the problematic and contradictory complexity of the image, as well as their empathic, ethical and political aspects.
The vast constellation of theoretical, artistic and literary references (including Baudelaire, Proust, Joyce, Bataille, Beckett), and the montage of the knowledge undertaken by Didi-Huberman (history, psychology, philosophy, phenomenology, etc), contribute to the conception of an historical time characterized by anachronisms, by impure, dialectical temporalities, fraught with survival and phantoms. This period constitutes the correlative of the "symptom", in other words, the open and "over-determined" symbol that Freud theorized and that Didi-Huberman proposes as the cornerstone for research into the arts.
A prolific author, he has published over 30 books on different artists and authors, such as Fra Angelico, Botticelli, Marey, Brecht, Giacometti, Pasolini, Turrell, Harun Farocki, American minimalists (Judd, Morris, etc.), but also on objects and anthropological themes, photography and cinema, theory and methodological issues.
In Images malgré tout he focuses on Shoah's "unimaginable", which tends to obliterate both the four photographic images that survived to the "Final solution" as well as the imagination of those who passed through the camps, even the Renoir, Lanzmann and Godard filmic productions, just to quote a few examples. Didi-Huberman vehemently stresses the value of the images - as scanty as necessary - in history and for the constitution of historical knowledge. He clearly dissociates similarity from false resemblance and from the assimilation of identity, in order to break through the fetishistic barrier and state how the image indeed can, in spite of all, touch on reality.
(JFF, MPS, VS, rIHA)
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