aspect-ratio 10x9 Bookcover of "Reproduction as translation"

Bookcover of "Reproduction as translation" (© Wilhelm Fink Verlag)

Before the term "reproduction" prevailed for the reproduction of works of art in print, a metaphorical twist dominated for a long time: the conversion of color into line was regarded as "translation".

Particularly in the France of the Enlightenment, engravers, art critics and poet theorists, including Denis Diderot, debated the analogy with translation in literature. With it as a model central issues could be negotiated for the graphic reproduction of works of art: What freedoms may engravers take out? Are they just a replacement for the original – or a work of its own quality? What influence do you have on the reception? The formative role of the translation metaphor, however, is not limited to the French engraving discourse of the 18th century. Rather, photographic reproductions as translation media were discussed in the mid-19th century – with consequences for their copyright status.

Art Research and Media Philosophy
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich Prof. Dr. Walter Grasskamp (Academy of Fine Arts Munich)

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