Logiques du Négatif: Techniques et métaphores de l’empreinte / Logic of the Negative : Techniques and metaphors of imprinting
International scholarly research network, 2022–2024
The network aims to explore imprinting, defined as a contact between two surfaces or two bodies, as an act rooted in the history of technique as well as in the artistic imagination. It considers rubbings, prints, impressions, casts and other forms of imprinting in a broad historical and transcultural context. In different civilisations, practices of imprinting evoke issues of presence and absence, reproduction and imitation, identity and difference.
The group draws inspiration from Georges Didi-Huberman’s groundbreaking exhibition L’empreinte (1997) and book La ressemblance par contact (2008), which charted attitudes and meanings that imprints have mobilized throughout Western (art) history. Logic of the Negative builds on this work and explores new areas left on the margins of Didi-Huberman’s project, for example, techniques such as gem engraving and blown glass, as well as rubbing and printmaking in non-Western practices, in particular Chinese contexts. In close dialogue with thinkers like Gilbert Simondon and Hans Blumenberg, the emphasis is on the multi-layered metaphorical and transcultural dimensions of imprint.
The research network met for a first workshop on 23 March, 2023 in Louvain-la-Neuve. The second meeting was held in Berlin on 30 and 31 May, 2023 as an international conference sponsored by the Thyssen Foundation.
Scientific board: Stefano de Bosio, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (scientific coordinator); Kathleen Christian, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Ralph Dekoninck, Université Catholique de Louvain; Jérémie Koering, Université de Fribourg
Current members of the network: Buket Altinoba, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München; Jennifer Chuong, Harvard University / Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Chari Larsson, Griffith University, Queensland; Jeffrey Moser, Brown University, USA; Ruth Noyes, National Museum, Copenhagen; Nicolas Sarzeaud, Université Lyon II-Lumière; Jakub Stejskal, Masaryk University, Brno
Supported by: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Université Catholique de Louvain, Université de Fribourg
Plaster casts after classical engraved gems, © The Trustees of the British Museum