Sigrid Weigel – Imaging the A-Visible. Towards a Grammatological Theory of Images


Sigrid Weigel – Imaging the A-Visible. Towards a Grammatological Theory of Images

Sigrid Weigel’s lecture explains her contribution to the recent debate on Bildwissenschaft. Departing from Derrida’s precept “The trace must be thought before the existing” her focus is on the threshold between traces and iconic images, between something immaterial and its pictorial re/presentation, – in this way referring to Walter Benjamin’s threshold knowledge (Schwellenkunde).

Instead of asking for the history, the power, or essence of images, her grammatological theory addresses the question of imaging (Bildgebung) as such and the afterlife of the vera-icon-problem in the present quest for true images. It investigates the way in which something a-visible gets transformed into an image, the moment of making-an-appearance, and the simultaneous process of concealment. In this light, unexpected correspondences appear between premodern and contemporary image-practices, between the history of religion and modern sciences.



Sigrid Weigel was director of the Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung (ZfL) in Berlin (1999-2015), she is professor emerita for literature at the Technical University of Berlin.
She taught in Hamburg, Zürich and Princeton, served as member of the directorial board of the Kulturwissenschaftliche Institut (Essen) and as director of the Einstein Forum in Potsdam.

Her research is dedicated to literature, its relation to intellectual and cultural history, and its epistemological contribution to science studies. She is a specialist of Walter Benjamin, Aby Warburg, Sigmund Freud, Gershom Scholem, Hannah Arendt, Heinrich Heine, Susan Taubes, and Ingeborg Bachmann. In addition, her work comprises research on theory and history of memory (post-holocaust, psychoanalyses), dialectics of secularization, afterlife of religion in modernity, image theory, and cultural approaches to science studies (esp. inheritance, genealogy, plastic surgery, facial expression, digital culture).

Her numerous monographs include Body- and Image Space. Re-Reading Walter Benjamin (1996); Images, the Creaturely, and the Holy (2013); Literatur als Voraussetzung der Kulturgeschichte. Schauplätze von Shakespeare bis Benjamin (2004); Genea-Logik. Generation, Tradition und Evolution zwischen Kultur- und Naturwissenschaften (München 2006); Grammatologie der Bilder (2015, translated as Grammatology of Images. A History of the A-Visible, Fordham University Press, 2022) and Transnational Foreign Policy – Beyond National Culture (2019).

Person in charge

Marie-Madeleine Ozdoba

Dr. Marie-Madeleine Ozdoba

Researcher and Scientific Coordinator
Phone +33 (0)1 42 60 40 34
Peter Geimer

Prof. Dr. Peter Geimer

Phone +33 (0)1 42 60 67 82

X-ray-image (2002) of Antonio Begarelli’s angel sculpture (after 1534)
X-ray image (2002) of the angel sculpture from the Crucifixion Group by Antonio Begarelli, terracotta (after 1534), Bode Museum Berlin. Image credit: Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung, Berlin
18:30 Uhr
20:30 Uhr
Language of the Event
DFK Paris
45 rue des Petits-Champs
75001 Paris
Room, floor
Salle Meier-Graefe