Mnemosyne Atlas

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The Archive figured prominently in the ICI’s third title, Searching for Sebald: Photography After W. G. Sebald. In her essay that considered the work of Tacita Dean and Joseph Beuys through the prose fictions of W. G. Sebald, Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes compares Dean’s Floh (2001) to Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas. The Atlas consists of photographic reproductions of artworks that are arranged on plates with little attention to traditional art historical classifications. “The underlying aim is iconology, which transcends mere aesthetic links or motif-hunting but takes into account sociopolitical contexts as well as historical psychology. Like Sebald’s novels and like Warburg’s Atlas, Floh is a history of mentalities, a social encyclopedia.”

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