The Layered Image. Its Phenomena and Constructions in Ancient Art
Call for papers for a conference in image theory and visual culture studies, 23-25 March 2020, University of Hamburg
Images are not two-dimensional. This insight is essential for approaching the perception of and the constitution of meaning through images. It applies to sculpture in the round, reliefs, and wall paintings as well as to coins, book illumination or floor mosaics. Such works of art all occupy a (variable) place in space, are bound to the surface and consist of several layers. Moreover, they are handled and interfere
with other objects and actions. Even the production of all kinds of images can be described as a multilayered process in a material sense. Tesserae are inserted into a substrate, paint is being applied, material removed with a chisel or poured into a mould with a certain thickness. Thus, it makes sense to distinguish different levels or layers of images and to ask how they have contributed to their perception and efficacy. In addition, the phenomena and processes associated with images are all
bound to a temporality: the production of the image medium is a process that, like its perception, extends over time. The image itself references the time and duration of what is depicted, and its carrier moves through space as well as through time. With time, various layers of meaning may sediment or reappear through erosion processes. The dimension of time thus creates further layers of the image.