Kristin Marek

Art History, Braunschweig
Fellowship: 15.10.2017–31.03.2018



Kristin Marek, Dr., is Art Historian and preparing her second book (Habilitation) at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Kunstgeschichtliches Institut. Since 2011 she is supported from Margarethe-von-Wrangell-Habilitationsprogramm (Ministery of Sience, Research and Arts Baden-Württemberg, Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design, Department of Art History and Philosophy of Media). 2007-2011 Assistant Professor at Ruhr Universität Bochum, Department of Art History, and at Kunsthochschule Kassel; 2005-2006 Post-Doc-Researcher at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar; Ph.D. in Art History 2005; 2003-2005 Doctoral Researcher at Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design; she received fellowships from the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaft, Vienna, Akademie Schloß Solitude, Stuttgart and the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich.


Fields of Research

Her research focuses on Contemporary Art, Early Modern Art, and the Art of the later Middle Ages. Among her areas of special interest are body-image issues, the aesthetics of the corpse and, more broadly, picture theory, politics and critical reflections.


Project outline

Writing the (after)life of an image: Reflections on a morphomatic iconology of the exposed corpse starting with Hans Holbein the Younger


Hans Holbein the Younger’s »Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb« (1521-22; Kunstmuseum Basel) is one of the most influential images in the history of European painting. From the sixteenth century to the present, artists—for example recently Marlene Dumas and Paloma Varga Weisz—have repeatedly worked with drastic representations of an exposed corpse. The image is also present in imaginative literature (Dostoyevsky’s »Idiot«). Remarkably, the numerous references we find to the exposed corpse have thus far only been considered in a scattered way, if at all; the project is thus meant as a first comprehensive examination of the »life writing« initiated by Holbein’s powerful image. The aim will be to explore the complex history of the image’s trans-epochal and trans-medial migration.

As a rule, art-historical research has approached motivic relationships in an iconographic framework; this has meant using a descriptive form we can understand as relatively closed, and thus above all examining specific contents and meanings. Forming a contrast to such iconographic treatment, the focus on the migration of images is concerned with movements and transitions—often a-chronological, anachronistic, or transcultural in nature—of specific cultural formations: a process Aby Warburg addresses with his concepts of the »pathos formula« and the »survival« of images.

With this shift of focus, close study of these cultural formations in terms of a broadly oriented »morphomatic iconology,« conceived, in the sense of the annual theme, as an open descriptive form, becomes possible: an inquiry into the specific iconic logic of each specific imagistic development; and with this an analysis, on a semantic level, of the medial, performative, and material conditions allowing transmission and perception, as well as, not least of all, the techniques at work in this process. Against this backdrop, the project will center concretely on two basic topics:

1. on a theoretical-methodological level, on Warburg’s concepts of »pathos formula« and »survival« of images as specific cultural figurations, together with their analytic potential for the morphomatic iconology I am essaying;


2. on the level of concrete image analysis, on the concepts’ productivity and applicability for a »life writing« exploring, in a trans-epochal and trans-medial framework, the cultural figuration of the exposed corpse, using the example of the painting by Hans Holbein the younger.


Publications (Selection)


  • The Bodies of the King: Royal Effigies and Holiness in Late Medieval England, aus dem Deutschen ins Englische übersetzt von Joel Golb (in Vorbereitung).
  • Die Körper des Königs. Effigies, Bildpolitik und Heiligkeit, Wilhelm Fink Verlag, München/Paderborn 2009, 310 Seiten.


Edited volumes

  • Berührendes Sehen. Zum Taktilen des Visuellen in der Kunst, zusammen mit Carolin Meister, Wilhelm Fink Verlag, München/Paderborn 2017 (in Vorbereitung).
  • Blanchot und das Bild. Begriffe und Bilder nach Maurice Blanchot, zusammen mit Barbara Filser, Wilhelm Fink Verlag, München/Paderborn 2017, ca. 200 Seiten (in Vorbereitung).
  • 4-bändige Buchreihe: KanonKunstgeschichte. Einführungen in Werke, Methoden und Epochen (Bd.1 Mittelalter, 400 Seite, Bd.2 Neuzeit, 420 Seiten, Bd.3 Moderne, 416 Seiten, Bd.4 Gegenwart, 384 Seiten), zusammen mit Martin Schulz, Wilhelm Fink Verlag, München/Paderborn, 2015.
  • Die neue Sichtbarkeit des Todes, Wilhelm Fink Verlag, München/Paderborn 2007, 610 Seiten, zusammen mit Thomas Macho.
  • Bild und Körper im Mittelalter, Wilhelm Fink Verlag, München/Paderborn 2006 (2. Auflage: München 2008), 348 Seiten, zusammen mit Raphaèle Preisinger, Marius Rimmele und Katrin Kärcher.


Articles (selection)

  • Die Leichen anderer im Buch betrachten. Parabildliche Rahmungen und Rezeptionsmodellierung in Christoph Bangarts Fotobuch »War Porn«, in: Philipp Stoellger, Jens Wolff (Hrsg.): Bild und Tod. Zu einer Grundfrage der Bildanthropologie, Tübingen 2016, 153-167.
  • Affekt und Reflexion im Werk von Teresa Margolles, in: Lorenz Engell/Christiane Voss (Hrsg.): Mediale Anthropologie, München/Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink Verlag 2015, 107-124.
  • Eldorado – Topologies of a Projection: Myth, Wallpaper, Video, in: Ruth Noack (Hrsg.): Agency, Ambivalence, Analysis. Approaching the Museum with Migration in Mind (MeLa* research publication), London 2013 (download from from 28 March 2013).
  • »Der Sterbende wird uns zeigen, wie er stirbt«. Ästhetik als partizipatorisches Konzept in Gregor Schneiders »Toter Raum«, in: Friederike Wappler (Hrsg.): Relational Art. Partizipatorische Kunst als künstlerische und gesellschaftlich-soziale Praxis, Ringier Verlag: Zürich 2012, 239-265.
  • Bildmedien der Geschichte – Geschichte der Bildmedien. Historien-Fotografie von Jeff Wall, Thomas Struth und Thomas Ruff, in: Inge Hinterwaldler/Carsten Juwig/Tanja Klemm/Roland Meyer (Hrsg.): Topologien der Bilder, München/Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink Verlag 2008, 59-77.