Imperfect Facsimiles: Forgery in the Library

Winnie Wong

University of California, Berkeley

Wednesday, October 2020, 5:30 pm

ONLINE Lecture, hosted by the Warburg Institute.

Free and open to all via Zoom; please book in advance for this event via the Warburg Institute website.

A Museum is not a Library. A Library is not a Museum. Although both hold works made by personages we think of as similar in kind (writers and artists), and who produce an effect we think of as identical (aesthetic, or at least cultural), these two modern institutions treat the works in their collections in such radically different ways that a comparison of them illuminates how our culture in fact conceives of artistic and literary works as things worlds apart. This paper explores this comparison and then proceeds to examine two cases of Librarians who confessed to astounding forgery schemes. One being Chinese and the other Italian, and both of whose stories came to light in 2014, this paper asks what forgery in the Library reveals about our changing relationship to this most venerable and “universal” institution.

The Bilderfahrzeuge Lecture series: “Not A Copy”

This annual lecture series is organised by the international research project “Bilderfahrzeuge. Aby Warburg’s Legacy and the Future of Iconology.” Entitled “Not A Copy,” this year’s series seeks to discuss the advent of new forms of visual expression in response to preceding artefacts and following from an interplay with their materiality and mediality. Humanities tend to reduce these dynamics to a dichotomy of a supposed ‘original’ and its ‘copy’. By doing so, the productive quality of transformation is often overlooked, whereas terms such as imitation, emulation, repetition, transmission, translation or recording are in continuous need of critical re-evaluation.

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