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Angst vor der Sprache. Zur Kritik der sprachkritischen Ikonologie

Author: Mark Halawa
[published in: IMAGE 20 (Ausgabe Juli 2014)]

When Gottfried Boehm proclaimed the iconic turn twenty years ago, he initiated much more than an increased interest in iconological issues. In fact, his notion of the iconic turn is inextricably interwoven with a fundamental critique of language. According to Boehm, bringing about an adequate understanding of iconicity requires the recognition of an essential dichotomy between word and image. This essay seeks to explain why Boehm’s iconology, by fostering such a dichotomy, is perpetuating the ancient Paragone dispute in a highly unproductive fashion. Moving on from this point of criticism, the essay works out the extend to which Boehm founds his theory of iconicity on an utterly one-sided conception of language. It also shows why Boehm’s language critical iconology amounts to a decidedly puristic idea of iconicity that is not only based on a deep-seated fear of language but also highly questionable.

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IMAGE 20_Halawa.pdf