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Heft #4 – 2023

Heft #4 – 2023


  • Ecologies of Blue Paper. Dürer and Beyond

    Iris Brahms

    This article examines blue paper as an ecological solution in drawing practice by investigating the questions of when and under which circumstances German artists in the early sixteenth century decided to use blue paper. Blue paper had several aesthetic, symbolic, and economic functions, often both referencing a geographic relationship to Italy and its tradition of drawing on blue paper, and also engaging in a world of play and imitation in workshop practices. For a better understanding of the early modern paper ecologies within which artists worked, it is necessary to regard paper production within a broader socio-cultural range, thus not only as an exchange between paper makers but also with consideration of other crafts as well as the impact of new technologies. From there we can reconsider our relationship to nature.


  • The Female Nude in Anti-Zia Feminist Painting

    Kristin Plys

    After the 1977 coup that launched General Zia-ul-Haq’s decade-long military dictatorship in Pakistan, visual arts flourished as part of many progressive movements. This essay on anti-Zia visual art explores the intersection of art and left politics. While left mobilization against the Zia dictatorship took several forms, one under-emphasized but significant node of opposition was led by artists and poets. Especially underrepresented among these movements were the indelible contributions of female artists who were among the state’s most persecuted. Though the Hudood Ordinances and other anti-women policies did not explicitly target artists, they effectively marginalized women from the arts by way of curbs on women’s mobility and freedom of expression in society at large. Female artists resisted, refusing to take up calligraphy or otherwise change their artistic style. Depictions of the female nude became an important political symbol for artists pushing back against the censorship of, violence against, and persecution of women. Pakistani feminist artists’ forms of cultural resistance through art creation have a long tradition in both South Asia and the Global South more broadly, but the female nude as the content of their resistance art warrants deeper investigation. In this essay, I recover the history of Pakistani women’s resistance through the visual arts then leverage this to weigh in on contemporary theoretical debates on the depiction of the nude female body as feminist praxis. The goal of this contribution is to record Pakistani women’s resistance during the Zia period so that feminist theory may learn from their actions.


  • Reperformance, Reenactment, Simulation. Notes on the Conservation of Performance Art

    Jules Pelta Feldman

    The conservation of performance art has become a pressing issue as museums increasingly commission, exhibit, and even collect works of performance art. While documentation might give us a schematic understanding of the original performance and its circumstances, and “reperformance” claims to reproduce the original live experience, neither of these can tell us what it was like to really be there, back then. Uniting curatorial and conservation methodologies, this paper proposes simulation as a tool for “mimetically documenting” the historical context and experience of performance works. Focusing on works by Marina Abramović and their representations in popular media, this article assesses historical reenactment, film and television, and ultimately video games as forms of simulation, arguing that these effectively transmit aspects of performance works that are otherwise difficult or impossible to conserve.


  • Memetic Superposition. Evaluating the Parallels between Memes and Renaissance Emblems

    Ray Drainville

    This paper argues that our understanding of Internet memes can be enhanced by a comparison with Renaissance emblems as an historical precursor. By incorporating an analysis of visual themes and production contexts, it notes striking parallels around form, conceptions of invention, in-group/out-group dynamics, uneven reception, and exploitation of maturing new media environments. In both cases, a combination of conventionalised stylistic formats and borrowed referential content free the maker to focus on invention based upon incongruous multimodal juxtaposition.


  • Does this Person Exist? KI-generierte Porträts und ihre prekäre Existenz im digitalen Raum

    Paul Werling

    In this photo-theoretical article I interrogate portraits generated by NIVIDIA’s StyleGAN2. Even though these portraits are completely artificial and the pictured persons have never existed, they are surprisingly realistic and could even be read as photographs. I therefore ask the question: How do these pictures relate to the photographic and can we consider them as a new aspect of the medium? I will also present an attempt to locate these images on the Internet and discuss how they are used today. The result of this experiential localization shows that the pictures are mostly used in dubious and even criminal ways.



  • Brigitte Buettner, The Mineral and the Visual. Precious Stones in Medieval Secular Culture (2022)

    Gia Toussaint
  • Erin Benay, Italy by Way of India. Translating Art and Devotion in the Early Modern World (2022)

    Urte Krass
  • Mary Ann Calo, African American Artists and the New Deal Art Programs. Opportunity, Access, and Community (2023)

    Phoebe Wolfskill
  • Eva Kernbauer, Art, History, and Anachronic Interventions Since 1990 (2022)

    Mehmet Berkay Sülek
  • Felipe Rojas, Byron Ellsworth Hamann, Benjamin Anderson (eds.),
    Otros pasados. Ontologías alternativas y el estudio de lo que ha sido (2022)

    Natalia Lozada-Mendieta
ISSN 2701-1569
eISSN 2701-1550