Bodies in motion and image recomposition in the early 20th Century


Aby Warburg

How to Cite

Longo, A. “Bodies in Motion and Image Recomposition in the Early 20th Century”. Mutual Images Journal, no. 10, Dec. 2021, pp. 171-90, doi:10.32926/2021.10.lon.bodie.


The question of the appearance of the body surges in a play of overwhelming forces, and its register in artworks assumes different shapes as their representation spreads towards other mediums. Firstly, following Aby Warburg’s thought, this article will analyse the process of the survival of bodies as potential motion in images. Warburg proposed an Iconological approach where the analysis of potential movement in the image yielded a formula for its analytic recomposition. Furthermore, he captured the transition at the beginning of the twentieth century, when the body representation moved to media that allowed movement reproduction, such as animation and cinema. The bodies' survival or capture contained an animist belief that gained propulsion with the first apparatuses and optical toys that allowed movement and live-action recording. This movement allowed for the production of a simulacrum of the living body and the power to recompose it in space. Therefore, this article will focus on the evolution of body representation and its survival to understand how images from the early twentieth century shaped and traveled around the world.


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