The Infinite Image
Art, Time and the Aesthetic Dimension in Antiquity
Distributed for Reaktion Books
Zainab Bahrani’s book opens in the early twentieth century, when artists and intellectuals like Alberto Giacometti, Henry Moore, and Georges Bataille were captivated by the ancient sculptures they encountered in European museums—before the question of the aesthetic in ancient art was rejected by rationalist scientific archaeology later in the century. She then travels back through the writings of Derrida, Hegel, Kant, and Plato to Mesopotamia, using these thinkers to argue that ancient images formed an aesthetic dimension that was both historical and evolving. She also addresses issues of the politics of cultural heritage important to Near Eastern art in the context of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and current instabilities in the Middle East. With over one hundred illustrations, The Infinite Image will be necessary reading for anyone interested in the questions at the center of contemporary history and the anthropology of art.