Skip to the main content

Original scientific paper

What Do Pictures Know? Art, Appropriation, Cultural Triangulation

Krešimir Purgar ; Sveučilište Josipa Jurja Strossmayera u Osijeku, Akademija za umjetnost i kulturu, Ulica kralja Petra Svačića 1/F, HR–31000 Osijek

Full text: croatian pdf 417 Kb

page 513-530

downloads: 286


Full text: english pdf 417 Kb

page 530-530

downloads: 405



In the paper, we try to elucidate the procedures that need to be applied if we want to establish the consequences that occur when the sediments of meaning in images are deposited on top of each other, creating a specific pictorial epistemology. We will point out some interdisciplinary mechanisms of image analysis, such as “cultural symptomatology” and “cultural triangulation”, together with drawing a typology of cultural-historical sediments of pictorial meaning that we call appropriation. We conclude that Bredekamp’s theory of image acts, as well as Mitchell’s concept of pictures as “desiring objects” and Belting’s consideration of the human body as “image media”, suggest that the interaction between a human and an image is a mirror of human’s own desire to produce a parallel world in which, as Lambert Wiesing explained, he or she does not have to participate. The image allows for different forms of participation or absence from participation in the event represented in the image. Therefore, what images “know” is a specific consequence of the fact that inanimate pictorial objects can possess memory but – unlike artificial intelligence – can activate their knowledge only in a reciprocal communicative relationship with people.


image; appropriation; cultural triangulation; image memory; William John Thomas Mitchell; Horst Bredekamp; Michele Cometa; David Freedberg

Hrčak ID:



Publication date:


Article data in other languages: croatian

Visits: 1.494 *