Picture – Perception – Time. Reception aesthetics and its temporality
In a particular manner, pictures and images (in a broader sense) are involved in different layers of time: the represented time, the aging and deterioration of the image carrier, processes of perception as well as the memories and expectations of the viewer. Thus, the perception of pictures cannot be understood as the simultaneous view of a given visual entity, rather it takes places within the framework of its own temporality when the eye of the beholder follows predetermined traces or establishes new ways of exploring the depiction. Each act of perceiving pictures implies processes by which different elements of the given depiction are related to each other.
Reception aesthetics (Rezeptionsästhetik) is of crucial importance in order to better understand the temporal experiences in front of pictures. By their formal and figurative qualities pictures make certain processes of perception possible or impose restrictions. However, the extent and means by which pictures influence the complex temporality of their perception are hardly investigated.
Previous attempts to describe unequivocal eye movement patterns remain highly disputed. Therefore, this project does not primarily try to reconstruct such stable patterns but analyses conflicts and contradictions within pictures and examines how these tensions provoke a temporal extension of the perception. By critically reviewing previous research on the relationship between image and time as well as empirical approaches and cognitive science, this project tries to further develop the art historical reception aesthetics and to point out its hitherto neglected temporal aspects. For this purpose, systematic and historical perspectives are to be interconnected. Two historical case studies will examine how temporal aspects of the reception aesthetics of pictures were reflected and used in 19th century paintings.
The first study shall reconstruct an ideal of ›vivid‹ or ›living‹ representation whose primary interest is to invest the means of representation with vitality and mobility. At the center of this study are pictorial allegories and the integration of writing into images at the beginning of the 19th century. The second study is dedicated to the work of Adolph Menzel in which the representation of time and the temporality of representation are interrelated in a particularly striking manner.
Taking recourse to the results of these historical case studies, a theoretical and methodological study will develop the conceptual and analytical framework of a new reception aesthetics of the picture which focuses on the temporality of the act of viewing. The project aims at a new answer to the question as to why the active power of pictures is not restricted to deceptive illusionism or to the rhetoric of evidence.
Project Bielefeld (Prof. Dr. Johannes Grave)
Prof. Dr. Johannes Grave: Der Akt des Betrachtens. Zur rezeptionsästhetischen Temporalität von Bildern
Dr. Boris Roman Gibhardt: Lebendige Darstellung. Dynamische Konzepte bildlicher Darstellung um 1800
Project Jena (Prof. Dr. Reinhard Wegner)
Frida-Marie Grigull: Der bewegte Blick. Dynamisierungsprozesse als Darstellungs- und Wahrnehmungsstrategien in den Werken Adolph Menzels