Archival Art and Open Wounds: From Hofmannsthal to Installation Art

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This article explores the ?archival impulse? (Hal Foster) in the work of Hugo von Hofmannsthal and several installation artists. Revisiting Hofmannsthal?s dramatizations of archival landscapes in his fictive travel report Augenblicke in Griechenland, I show how topographies of wounds introduce an aesthetics and ethics of participation. The article also explores striking parallels between topographies of wounds and contemporary archival art, in particular Thomas Hirschhorns?s video installation Touching Reality (2004), and Saskia Boddeke?s and Peter Greenaway?s exhibition installation Obedience (2015, Jewish Museum Berlin). These topographies expose the potential of archival art to engage with memory as a form of inscription, that is, with the archival impulse as an act of (re)inscribing inscriptions in an event of wounding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-250
Number of pages17
JournalSeminar - A Journal of Germanic Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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