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Mehrdeutigkeit als kulturelles Phänomen


Edited By Nicolas Potysch and Matthias Bauer

Dieser Band ist aus einer interdisziplinären Ringvorlesung hervorgegangen, die von den Doktorandinnen und Doktoranden des Tübinger Graduiertenkollegs „Ambiguität: Produktion und Rezeption", federführend Nicolas Potysch und Sophia Kuhs, initiiert und geplant wurde. In den Beiträgen aus 12 verschiedenen Fachgebieten geht es darum, wie sprachliche und semiotische Mehrdeutigkeit an die Deutung der Wirklichkeit rückgebunden ist. Die Beiträge untersuchen Ambiguität (als Mehrzahl abgrenzbarer Bedeutungen) und Vagheit (als Spektrum nicht abgrenzbarer Bedeutungen) in Texten und Bildern. In Verbindung damit diskutieren sie zahlreiche Phänomene in kultureller, politischer, juristischer, psychologischer und didaktischer Praxis, die deutungsoffen und deutungsbedürftig sind.

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Evidenz und Unbestimmheit. Chodowieckis „Verbesserung der Sitten“ und die Bild(be)deutung in der Aufklärung



The article deals with an etching titled “Verbesserung der Sitten” (1786) by Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, who was the leading German engraver during the Enlightenment period. The picture shows a ballad monger presenting some graphics to a curious audience while strange incidents are happening in the backround. The article’s starting point is Johann Georg Sulzer’s perspective on art, taken from his influential lexicon Allgemeine Theorie der Schönen Künste. Sulzer claims that each piece of art has to be obvious and evident in depicting the represented object. The question is how this claim is compatible with the ambiguity that is inherent to each picture. With reference to Chodowiecki’s etching, I want to show how it displays self-reference and reflects about its character as a medium and how it negates a disambiguated reading of its representation.

After an introduction to the connection between images and evidentia in the 18th century, I am going to discuss the engraving and its formation context. When considering some of Chodowiecki’s statements, it becomes apparent that he disguised his real intention in creating the etching. The etching implies a satrirical meaning and therefore has an ambivalent character, which is reflected on a meta-level: The picture seems to contain itself. Furthermore, it displays figures receiving the same kind of pictures and artists producing them. There is also a grotesque frame surrounding the upper part of the central scene. This ancient genre, reanimated in the Renaissance and criticized by the early...

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