Ce que montrent les images. Philippe Descola (1) par laviedesidees
What does an image illustrate? How can we interpret the intangible world of ideas through tangible media? Is there a one to one correspondence between things and their depictions, or do we need special models to decrypt the embedded meanings?
Anthropologists Philippe Descola and Anne-Christine Taylor have taken up this challenge in the exhibition "La fabrique des images", currently being shown at Musee du Quai Branly in Paris.
The exhibition text states:
Images depicting things that are similar in appearance do not necessarily refer to the same invisible properties of reality. To class them according to their formal characteristics alone - type, subject, medium, technique - reveals nothing about the circumstances in which and for which they were made, nor about the figurative conventions their creators followed.
A landscape, a mask, a portrait, a body painting do not have any universal significance and do not have the same effects across time and space. To grasp this one can contrast two images that resemble each other yet cannot be assembled.
The exhibition can be seen until July 17th, 2011.