At the centre of this study is the only apparent semantic opposition between signature and the phantastic. Normally the theory of signature with its theologically determined signs refers to the late Middle Ages and the subsequent consequences in the early modern period, whereas the phantastic defines signs anew in order to situate a background horizon in the manifestation of objects. By contrast the present book attempts a new approach. On the one hand it effects a differentiation of the discourse on ‚signature‘ and hence distinguishes seven meanings of signature in Boschs ‚Garden of Earthly Delights‘. On the other hand, in the new signs, conceived through the liberation of the fantasia [imagination], numerous echoes of the old signatures linger on; the only difference is that where the background horizon is invisible, it is no longer conceived metaphysically. Nonetheless, the entire realm of the invisible only partially attains perceptible visibility, so that there is always a transcendental remainder which is decisively determined by new driving forces in the Renaissance and Baroque: firstly by dreams; secondly by the fantasia whose imagination is redeemed/liberated aesthetically and artistically and which is largely freed from the precept of mimesis; and thirdly, from the disturbed perspective of a ‚mundus inversus‘ of another world of non-European culture, from which the ‚savage‘ views Old Europe (Montaigne)
The special aspect of the conception of this book lies in the articulated tension between contemporary critical theory in culural studies and strictly historical semantics. A considerable component of this is the ‚signature‘, which both is read historically in the context of the ciphers/symbols of the 16th- and 17th-century ‚signatura rerum‘ inscribed by God in all phenomena and is interpreted today in the context of phenomenological aesthetics (Dieter Mersch, Gernot Böhme). This particular conception defines the dichotomy of historical and contemporary interpretation and leads at the very least to a heuristic decisiveness by surmounting this dichotomy through transepochal hermeneutics. Further central categories pertain to the signatures in dreams (Alberti, Dürer, Artemidor, Calderón, Gryphius) and to their importance for the formation of the creatively phantastic, which however is not released by questioning the precept of mimesis but rather is produced by the other side of the reason of dreams. The repercussions of such activity of the imagination lead in the various arts and media to particular figures which, ‚full of figure inwardly‘ (Dürer, Klaus Huber), drive the chiffres outward into the abnormal shapes of grotesques (Hieronymus Bosch and Arcimboldo), monsters (Montaigne), the hybrid shapes of monsters (Racine’s ‚Phèdre‘) and the ‚effetto‘ (Arcimboldo, Gesualdo, Stefano Felis) of what is totally surprising and alienating. The ‚Other‘ of reason designates the perspective of another reality understood metaphorically, but also and at the same time the other gaze from a foreign, non-European culture onto European culture, an inverted consideration of the ‚mundus inversus‘ as manifested in Montaigne’s ‚Savage‘. This transformed and new ethnographic approach, integrated into the aesthetic discourse on ‚fantasia‘ as mediated by cultural studies, defines both the observer and also how art views the world. Accordingly this approach interrupts the modern privileging of the eye and the optical perspective: the eye is the organ of certain perception and especially unwavering testimony, and it can also be deceived by being overwhelmed by objects, inner visions and external phantasms. This realisation can thus at the very least restrict the anthropologically so apparently irrefutable assumption by André Leroi-Gourhan of a difference between primordial-facial, i.e. audiovisual culture of an established perception of distance and a secondary order of culture which, since it is only haptic and olfactory, is hence also less objective
It is of fundamental importance that such interpretative insights can be deduced against the background of Renaissance and Baroque theoretical writings on art and music (Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo, Gregorio Comanini, Vicentino) and literary poetics (Scaliger et al.), such that the interpretations of the arts and media collected in this volume result not only from contemporary effort, but also from the historic semantics of the early modern period. In this respect the present study thus finds common ground with the epoch-making book Der europäische Manierismus 1520-1610 (Munich 1997) by Daniel Arasse and Andreas Tönnesmann. Both share the cultural and historical perspective of, for example, the meaning of the ‚grotesque‘ in Montaigne, but the present study expands the topic to include the transcultural view of ethnology in order to enter virgin territory. It is there that the release of the phantastic grows from the newly won anthropocentric creativity of the subjects, but also from the limitation of creativity where it is studied from the outside, by the Other of a third world. The gaze of the ‚savage‘ becomes phantastic when it looks upon Old Europe with Montaigne’s eyes. One can term this book innovative in that it focusses, from the perspective of different disciplines, on the intersection of a historical-cultural turn around 1600 where the old, metaphysically determined signatures and the new signs meet and attempt to insert a background horizon fully into a phenomenological and objectified presence, in spite of a veil. At the same time, such a perspective can only be executed if each respective discipline reflects on its own premises; that is, each discipline takes into consideration the position of the observer in his or her own present time without being blind to historical facts and the history of events which contain a historical index. In this book the question of the reason for the topicality of such an approach lies in the comparative conscious expectation in which today, just as in the early modern period, the arts and the different forms of knowledge (and later, with Vico’s Scienza Nuova, cultural studies) again enter into a reflective and conditional relationship
The first main contribution of Martin Zenck with the title The structure of fantasies in the signatures of the early modern age develops the issue of the meaning of signatures in discursive field with fantasies. First, he defines the semantic contrast between signature and fantasies.With that usually two systems of signs are described, where the signatures name adamitic imprints in those things which are intertwined by the principle of similarity and dissimilarity. To feel and perceive this a mimetic-mnemonic access is necessary, which is based on the reflective relationship between a macrocosmic inscription and a microcosmic charge of things. On the other hand, in fantasies the signs are not regarded as given facts or prescriptions, but they are set also in the course of coming off the rules of mimesis anthropocentrically and made to appear in things and artefacts. – The next step is, on the one hand, to work out seven different fields of meaning of the „signature“ and to exemplify them directly in Hieronymus Bosch’s „Garten der Lüste“(especially the right wing of the altar). On the other hand, these areas of meaning are again confronted with the new concept of the „fantasia“ under the perspective of a more complex and inherent understanding of the poetics of Renaissance and Baroque. Accordingly, „signature“ literally means, firstly, a personal signature, indeed, that of a client who wants a specific work to be performed in an adequate manner, by which his/her intention regarding the picture and the work is imprinted into the artefact. Secondly, „signature“ means the signature the artist imprints into the picture, and by this special way of imprinting ruled by a certain position of the hand, the manner of painting and the style of a picture is influenced. Thirdly, by way of the „signature“ principally a field becomes writing, so it is a relationship between the picture and the writing. This denotes in detail, as a fourth aspect, that a connection between numerals and inscriptions is achieved, which is a connection between ideal or fixed numerals and cited or invented inscriptions of a picture. Regarding Wilhelm Fraenger’s book about Hieronymus Bosch, in the fifth place, one can speak of „pharmaceutical signatures and signatures of opiate“ generally playing a role in the explanations about certain kinds of berries and in the „Liebesäpfel der Mandragora“ in the theory of signature. They are no less subject of presentation than means for stimulating the artist’s creative „fantasia“. If one speaks of a signature of an age, it is, in the sixth place, either an autonomous assignment or, in the seventh place, a theologically labelled interpretation, showing how it is compatible with the theory of signature. – The decisive question to be asked regarding the relationship between „signature“ and „fantasies“ in order to differentiate effectively between the two categories and aspects is to what extent signs of fantasies, e.g. frightening half-breeds and hybrids of appearance, can still be virtual compounds of the „signature“ or if these inspirations are mere thanks to the unleashed „fantasia“. This question can be answered as follows: Within a theo-centrically based theory of signature these monsters, e.g. the frightening mixed heads and dragon’s heads at the „Freiburger Münster“, are marginalia: They are a matter of peripheral importance and are not – like in mannerism – a peculiar stylistic version of a fantasia set absolutely – in the centre of attention. For one side the monstrosities serve for proving an incontestable truth, for the other they are a subject of an inexhaustible inventiveness
The article structure and „effetto“ in Gesualdo’s madrigal „moro lasso“. Perspectives of a trans-epochal hermeneutics methodically includes two starting-points: From the analytical and semantic point of view it is on the one hand orientated strictly historical in using the term of a released „effetto“, which in art history is to be proved especially with Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo (Trattato dell’Arte de la Pittura, Milano 1584). On the other hand the article goes even further than this strictly historical starting-point and transfers Gesualdo’s vocal technique, his dealing with the human voice and his phonetic way of composing – this means breaking up the text of the madrigal into its smallest units of phonemes, the cries of pain represented in the interjection „ahi“ – into the current form of textual composition of the late 20th century. That is especially the case with Luigi Nono and Klaus Huber – two composers, who dealt intensively with Gesualdo. The final contribution in this book achieves in its starting-point a direct connection with my first article, in so far as it translates the epistemic and aesthetic categories of signatures and fantasies, which constitute the present book, into the categories of the aesthetics of composing, which form the structural counterpoint and „effetto“. The „effetto“, which is the completely surprising effect, has ever been a keyword not only in Roland Barthes’ interpretation of Arcimboldo (in the meaning of a re-organization of the rhetorical figures), but it was also the topic for the standard book with the title L’effetto Arcimboldo (The Arcimboldo Effect , London 1987).
Das Buch thematisiert ein Spannungsverhältnis: Die Signaturen sind göttliche Einschreibung in die Dinge, in denen wir uns als Betrachter wiedererkennen. Diese Spuren verweisen auf eine vollkommene Natur, die nachzuahmen Aufgabe der Künste ist. Diesem Konzept der Naturnachahmung entgegengesetzt ist die künstlerische Phantasie, die sich von solchen Fesseln zu befreien sucht und das Unbewusste in uns, den Traum, das Wilde und Ungeordnete, die andere Seite der Vernunft in uns, nach aussen kehrt. In diesen Monstern und vielgestaltigen Ungeheuern, die in Bildern und Artefakten zur Erscheinung gebracht werden, begegnen wir uns also selbst mit einer Seite, welche die taghelle Vernunft am Liebsten aus dem Bewusstsein verbannen würde. Aber diese dunkle, abgründige Natur ist ein Teil von uns. In diesem Buch sind Autorinnen und Autoren verschiedener Disziplinen von der Kunstgeschichte über die Literaturwissenschaft/Theaterwissen-schaft und Musikwissenschaft bis hin zu den Medienwissenschaften, der Philosophie und der Ethnologie versammelt. Sie handeln zentrale Kategorien der frühen Neuzeit ab, wie die Signaturen im Traum, das Mimesis-Gebot und -Verbot, die Chiffren des Grotesken, der Monster und Strukturen des „effetto“ und bringen diese Kategorien einerseits in Verbindungen mit den Kulturwissenschaften des Barock, andererseits mit Einsichten und Diskursen, welche die aktuelle Forschung der Kulturwissenschaften, vor allem der Erkenntnisleistungen der einzelnen Sinne in ihrer die Vernunft übersteigenden Kraft bestimmen.