Anja Manfredi – Atlas

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‘… a visual form of knowledge’ Thoughts on Anja Manfredi’s Atlas

Anja Manfredi’s Atlas is a long-term project that the artist, who was born in Lienz in 1978 and lives and works in Vienna, has been working on since 2019. Aby Warburg’s Bilderatlas Mnemosyne forms an important frame of reference for it. Two weeks before his death, the cultural scientist from Hamburg wrote in a letter to the German literary historian Karl Vossler that he was working on a kind of atlas ‘in which one can see spread out in its series of pictures the function of the pre-formed antique- like expressive values in the representation of inner and outer moving life and which at the same time is to be the basis for the development of a new theory of the function of human pictorial memory’. 1 Just like Warburg’s Atlas, which visually attempts to map the afterlife of antiquity, but is also an example of applying the iconological method of the interpretation of pictures, Anja Manfredi’s Atlas also has a double spearhead: The inexhaustible chain of associations to the mythological figure of Atlas, the carrier of the world, whose traces the artist sticks to by means of analogue photography, correlated with the synopsis of the individual images, which provides a pictorial compendium of the abstract quantity ‘space’, symbolised by a sphere in the most diverse shape and context. Gestures of load-bearing and metaphorical dimensions of enduring, bearing, but also of empowerment.

‘Aren’t we all bearers of burdens?’ Anja Manfredi asks.

Lisa Ortner-Kreil, 2023

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