Clément Cogitore
Zodiac, 2017

  • C-Print, Glas Diasec
  • 113,5 x 150 cm
  • Acquired in 2018
The photograph is characterized by the view of a broad man’s back, which is supposedly subjected to the act of tattooing. On the dramatically illuminated back against a dark background unfolds a cosmos of symbols: a sign system of zodiacal astrology. The skin-carved motif that represents the northern hemisphere goes back to the first astrological woodcut in Europe. It comes from the hand of Albrecht Dürer (14711528) and was created in 1515. As Dürer’s direct source functioned two ornate star charts, which were made in Nuremberg in 1503. His own additions to the design, however, include the portraits of early astronomers in each corner:  Aratus Cilix, Ptolemy, Marcus Manilius, and Azophi Arabus (Al-Sufi). Aby Warburg, an art historian and pioneer in the field of visual culture, included Dürer’s print in his important pictorial atlas, ‘Mnemosyne, A Picture Series Examining the Function of Preconditioned Antiquity-Related Expressive Values for the Presentation of Eventful Life in the Art of the European Renaissance,’ which due to Warburg’s death remained unfinished in 1929 with just 63 images. The identity of the person whose skin allows us to look at this astrological map remains unknown. Cogitore stages the canonical image of the sky as in a contemporary approach, as against the backdrop of historical references, in a field of tension between physicality and Imagination.

Clément Cogitore

* 1983 Colmar, F
Lives and works in Paris and Berlin, F and D
Clément Cogitore
Digital Desert #2, 2015
C-Print, Glas Diasec, Signed and numbered 2/5 on a label on the reverse

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