En Face. Seven Essays on the Human Face
This thematic issue of the German art history journal kritische berichte gathers analytical approaches to the ‘phenomenon face’ from different disciplines: neurophysiology, philosophy of the body, cultural history, surgery, medieval history, and the history of art. In their contributions, the authors examine the face as medium and material, as mise-en-scene and matter, as mirror and membrane, producer and recipient – as a cultural construction and a human determinant. The essays are spurred by their author’s profound involvement with the questions: WHAT IS A FACE? What did and what does it mean, culturally, socially, psychologically, physiologically, aesthetically, historically? What might it look like in the future? What are our assumptions about what a face represents, what it means to lose one’s face, or live with someone else’s face. Often enough, we think of faces as identities. But, what does a face tell about ‘us’ – individually, culturally, and as a species? Perception and imagination, the belief in images and image making, they all overlap in the face. The book’s trans-disciplinary approach is a first step toward a cultural history of the face. It includes essays by Jean-Claude Schmitt, Bernard Andrieu, Sigrid Weigel, Georges Didi-Huberman, Claudia Schmoelders, Jonathan Cole, and an interview with the facial surgeon Rainer Schmelzeisen.