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Structural constellations: Excursus on the drawings of Josef Albers c.1950-1960

Auerbach, Anthony Wayne; (2004) Structural constellations: Excursus on the drawings of Josef Albers c.1950-1960. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Ostensibly a monograph on the drawings of Josef Albers, the reader will find under the heading "excursus": a series of investigations into the concept of constellation in the writings of Walter Benjamin and Theodor W. Adorno, the semiotics of star maps, the rhetorics of geometry and the structure of representation in which Josef Albers's Structural Constellations are not discussed directly for almost 200 pages. Although it departs from its subject matter, this group of essays may be regarded as tending towards an interpretation of Structural Constellations, as Benjamin would say, returning in a roundabout way to its original object. The main themes of the dissertation are addressed to specific objects: texts by Benjamin and Adorno, star maps in the tradition which stretches between Ptolemy's Almagest and Argelander's Bonner Durchmustering, geometry lessons, the gossip about Cubism, works and manifestos by Alberti, Durer, van Doesburg, Lissitsky and Albers. The aim is to broaden the terms of reference and develop more precise interpretative tools for an assessment of Albers's Structural Constellations, to place these works in a more accurate historical context and provide the basis for a reassessment of some of the products and rhetorics of twentieth century modernism. The reader should not expect the dissertation to reach a climax with Albers's Structural Constellations. Albers emerges, even as he dissppears in the elucidation of his works, as a late modernist and practitioner of negative dialectics. His works emerge as a configuration of these dialectics and offer a reflection on the topics and ideas explored in the dissertation. The historical and theoretical discussion of the metaphorical and graphic praxis of constellation and what I have called the "epistemological wish-images" mediated by geometry is counterbalanced by a companion volume cataloguing some 1,500 drawings by Josef Albers.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Structural constellations: Excursus on the drawings of Josef Albers c.1950-1960
Identifier: PQ ETD:602698
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest. Third party copyright material has been removed from the ethesis. Images identifying individuals have been redacted or partially redacted to protect their identity.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > The Slade School of Fine Art
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1446767
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