Mapping the World of Images: On Malraux’s Museum Without Walls
Georges Didi-Huberman is one of the world’s foremost art historians and philosophers of aesthetics. A recipient of the College Art Association’s Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art, he is the author of 35 books, with a range of subject matter that defies quick characterization. Didi-Huberman is a professor at the Centre d’Histoire et Théorie des Arts at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales.
Abstract: Georges Didi-Huberman will discuss the illustrations in André Malraux’s Museum Without Walls (Le Musée imaginaire) — a work explicitly inspired by Walter Benjamin’s ideas about “technical reproducibility” and “the author as producer.” He will examine the opening of an imaginary space entailed by Malraux’s practice of the art book as album of images sustained by a sort of expressivity involving the frame, lighting and montage. This practice of montage will enable us to see how Malraux builds the authority of his visual style while sealing up his literary field. He will critically examine the anti-historical and anti-political dimensions of Malraux’s esthetics, which ends up quite a distance from that of Benjamin. The lecture will conclude with a comparison between two contemporaneous works: Malraux’s Imaginary Museum of World Sculpture (Le Musée imaginaire de la sculpture mondiale) and Statues Also Die, a film by Chris Marker and Alain Resnais.