Subject Area

Beginnings and Endings: Cultural Histories of the Creative

Subject Area 2

Beginnings and Endings: Cultural Histories of the Creative

The second subject area asks how the new comes into the world – and goes back out again. Stations of a cultural history of creation and destruction, of beginning and end, should emerge.

  • Opening and Endgame, Genesis and Apocalypse thematizes historical and contemporary artistic and literary models of the beginning and ending of the world.
  • Closed and Open Artwork: Thresholds between Art and the World focuses on the image of the artwork as an organism, which opens up a long series of nature/culture hybrids in art, art theory, poetics and life science. The question of beginning and ending is then posed concretely to an individual work of art: How do texts and images begin and how can they end?
  • Ensoulment and Infection takes a look at the transition as the ensoulment, enlivening and animation of inanimate things, be it as inspiration, as a breath, as a numinous, erotic, natural or technical event.
  • Continuance, Rebirth, Reenactment poses the question of life after death in art. In the paradoxical motif of living on in the work, a shadowy continued existence is envisioned in which one’s own death is survived. The renaissances – the “rebirths” of genres, epochal styles or of entire epochs – robustly pursue their own purposes under a historical mask (as will be shown in, among other things, the renaissance of the architectural and literary Baroque in the Neo-Baroque, one of the founding contexts of the Salzburg Festival).


Picture credits: Marcel Broodthaers, Un Coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard, 1969, Artist’s book, Wide White Space Gallery, Antwerpen, Gallery Michael Werner, Köln.