Victor I. STOICHITA (n. 1949)

Art historian, lectures “modern and contemporary history of art” at Fribourg University in Switzerland. Born in Romania and now Spanish citizen, he obtained his degree from La Sapienza, Rome and his Ph.D. from the Sorbonne, Paris. Quite possibly this multi-cultural and multi-linguistic condition has played a role in very diversified considerations of theoretical, critical and linguistic tools. Victor Stoichita has been contributing for widening the problems and objects of study, fully demonstrating the interest of a pluralistic method of analysis of artistic and visual experience. The history of art, aesthetics and anthropology thus contribute to highlight the dynamics of permanence and the transformation that define the “contradictory” world of images. The functioning of image and imagination as well as the topic of memory, become fundamental issues for historical research.
In L’Instauration du tableau (2nd ed., 1999) and Bréve histoire de l’ombre (2000), he focuses on topics where what is at stake is the artistic phenomenon's own nature and matters that are the subject of continuous theoretical elaboration together with extensive philosophical and cultural offshoots that the author investigates in a notably refreshing style.
In The Pygmalion Effect (2008; pt. trans. 2011) the story of a Cypriot sculptor and the statuette that he himself made is analysed, beginning with Ovid with inroads into Romance of the Rose, Shakespeare, Deleuze, Barbie and ending up with Hitchcock. But in this history of imitations, on the one hand, the evidence of a central dimension of Western artistic practice is highlighted. Here we see the deluded artist become infatuated by the image he has created; on the other hand, we may understand how this passion ruins the logic of mimesis and deprives any principle or conformity between the original and the copy. In fact, Pygmalion’s statuette exists on another level. She is a technical-magical-artistic object that effectively manages to capture desire. And thus she is telling about the image aspect that exists in art.

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