Bilderfahrzeuge

‘Bilderfahrzeuge’, which translates literally as image vehicles, is a term coined by the German art historian Aby Warburg (1866-1929). It refers to a concept that was fundamental to Warburg’s work, which sought to trace lines of continuity linking Antiquity with the Renaissance – lines that he saw as emerging from the the migration of images, ‘Bildwanderung’. The Warburg Institute is the hub of the Bilderfahrzeuge Project.

The Bilderfahrzeuge Research Project sets out to explore the migration of images, objects and ideas in a broad geographical and historical context. Its work is largely based around the individual research of thirteen international and interdisciplinary associate researchers and academics. Each aims to complete a monograph within their field of research during the course of the project, as well as regularly publishing articles and participating in international conferences. The project hosts a lecture series at the Warburg Institute as well as holding an annual Bilderfahrzeuge conference and several workshops in various locations across Europe.Germany, the US, Mexico, and the UK. The overall project is formed of various subprojects that range from material-based art historical research (Eckart Marchand, Anna McSweeney, Pablo Schneider, Elena Tolstichin, Isabella Woldt) to cultural historical and literary ones (Linda Báez Rubí, Rebecca Darley, Philipp Ekardt, Christopher Johnson, Johannes von Müller) to historiographical analyses in the broadest sense (Victor Claass, Maria Teresa Costa, Hans Christian Hoenes, Reinhard Wendler). Yet, these diverse studies benefit from a close cooperation that leads to constant interchanges and works towards annulling a definite differentiation of topics and fields.

Structure

The Bilderfahrzeuge Project was founded in 2013 and is based in five academic institutions across Europe: The Warburg Institute (London), the Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichtes (Paris), the Kunsthistorische Institut (Florence), the Humboldt Universität (Berlin) and the Warburg Haus (Hamburg). Each institution is represented by one of the five Professors who also direct the research project: Andreas Beyer (Basel/Paris) who is also the research projects’ speaker, Horst Bredekamp (Berlin), Uwe Fleckner (Hamburg), David Freedberg (London), and Gerhard Wolf (Florence).

The Bilderfahrzeuge Project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and realised in cooperation with the Max Weber Stiftung.

Guided by the spirit of Aby Warburg’s studies, the Bilderfahrzeuge Project seeks to expand and build on his concept of ‘Bilderfahrzeuge’ by broadening it into an enquiry into the migration of images and ideas within the wider field of cultural history. Adopting an interdisciplinary and international approach, the Bilderfahrzeuge project brings together art historians, medievalists, cultural historians, comparatists and philosophers from the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Mexico and the US, each working on subprojects that range from material-based art historical research to cultural historical and literary studies and historiographical analyses in the broadest sense.

Visit the Bilderfahrzeuge website to find out more about the project and individual research projects.

Warburg succeeded in articulating the phenomenon in a highly visual, even iconic fashion in his famous Mnemosyne Bilderatlas. It is the protagonists of this work – images and motifs, whose migration across time and space become apparent over the course of the atlas’ various panels – that are the definitive ‘Bilderfahrzeuge’.

“Due not only to its mobility but also its technique, which fitted the multiple reproduction of its image, the Flemish tapestry is the first, albeit colossal, Bilderfahrzeug (vehicle for mobile images), which, freed from the wall, served as a forerunner of the printed illustrated page (in other words, the copper engraving and the woodcut) that for the first time made the exchange of expressive values between North and South into a vital part of the process of circulation that shaped the formation of European style.”

Aby Warburg, Introduction to the Mnemosyne Bilderatlas, 1929

Speaker

Prof. Dr. Andreas Beyer
The Warburg Institue
Woburn Square
London WC1H 0AB
England
andreas.beyer@unibas.ch

Coordinator

Johannes von Müller
The Warburg Institute
Woburn Square
London WC1 0AB
England
Tel: +44 (0) 207 862 87 75
vonmueller@bilderfahrzeuge.org

Project Assistant

Stuart Moss
The Warburg Institute
Woburn Square
London WC1 0AB
England
Tel: +44 (0) 207 862 87 41
moss@bilderfahrzeuge.org