Art History [Istoria tis Technis] journal


Political Iconography

Martin Warnke


Political Iconography: Falconry and the Practice of Power

Yannis Hadjinicolaou

The present article develops the notion of political iconography (coined by Martin Warnke) through the example of falconry. Knowing how to handle the falcon was of crucial importance as an analogy of knowing how to rule the state. The falcon remains untamed and can surprisingly leave the falconer at any time. Similarly, the ruler had to learn from early on how to engage with unexpected situations and one of the pedagogical tools used was falconry. The interaction between nature and culture is clear in relation between falcon and falconer between the discrepancy of tamed and untamed. In the hitherto text is shown how images and techniques may be brought to a direct association with each other and hence reveal the iconic power of practicing falconry between a pragmatic as well as symbolic and hence political pursue.


Yannis Hadjinicolaou, Ph.D. (2014), Freie Universität Berlin, is a research associate at the international research project “Bilderfahrzeuge. Aby Warburg´s Legacy and the Future of Iconology”, Warburg Haus (Institute of Art History, University of Hamburg). He has published one monograph, three edited volumes and articles on art and art theory of the early modern period, the political iconography of falconry and the theory and history of art history as well as synagonism in the arts. [jhadjinicolaou@hotmail.com]



Piet Mondrian and the American painters of the sixties: the beholder and the visual space

Sotirios Bahtsetzis

The article explores the concept of space as the central category of signification in the painting of Piet Mondrian. It analyses on the one hand the relationship of the virtual space with the actual viewing space of the beholder, and on the other, the ways in which the work focuses on activating an embodied and lived experience. The article then focuses on a parallel reading of the work of Piet Mondrian and Barnett Newman in order to demonstrate equivalent conceptualizations of the space in the work of the two artists. The parallel analysis of the work of the two painters as well as the interpretation of the theoretical work of art critic Clement Greenberg demonstrates in more detail the consequences that the innovative vision of Mondrian had for the works of American painters of the 1960s. Therefore, investigating how new perceptual patterns are structured (this is the ultimate goal of both Mondrian and Newman) enables us to understand the broader historical context in which the modern and optically defined subject is formed, that is, the Western man at the height of the industrialization of the postwar 20th century. At this point the formal analysis which expands towards phenomenology helps us to understand the broader sociocultural context – an interpretative approach that governs the methodology of the article.


Sotirios Bahtsetzis holds a Ph.D. from the Technische Universität Berlin and he is Assistant Professor in History of Modern and Contemporary Art at the American College of Greece (Deree). He belongs to the collaborating teaching staff of the Hellenic Open University and is a visiting professor at the Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz in Basel, as well as in the Interuniversity Program of Postgraduate Studies in Museology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the University of Western Macedonia. He conducts his research with an interdisciplinary approach putting an emphasis on visual and media studies. [sotiriosbahtsetzis@gmail.com]



The role of the exhibition “Environment-Action, Trends in Greek Art Today” (1981) in the historicisation of performance art in Greece

Irene Gerogianni

Through the analysis of the exhibition “Environment-Action, Trends in Greek Art Today,” which was held in 1981 by the Society of Greek Art Critics, my goal is to discuss the first official attempt of providing a theoretical framework, but mainly of historicizing, performance art in Greece. As it turns out, as part of the exhibition, performance art was conceived as a rupture with the past but still within the limits of the regulatory grammar of modernism, in which one rupture follows another in a linear plan of progress. This conception underlines the theoretical discontinuities that influenced the historicisation of performance art in Greece, without a theory of postmodernism.


Irene Gerogianni holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the Department of Architecture of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Her research interests lie in the history of conceptualist and performative practices of Greek post-war art and their relation to politics. She teaches at the Department of History and Archaeology of the University of Ioannina. She co-edited a volume on the work of Greek artist Maria Karavela (AICA Hellas, 2015), while her book on the history of Greek performance art will be published by futura publications within 2019. [i_gerogianni@hotmail.com]