The Treasure Chests of Mnemosyne

date datum 1 September 2012 16:00location locatie Witte de With (2nd floor)

The Treasure Chests of Mnemosyne
Die Schatzkammern der Mnemosyne
Les Trésors de la Mnémosyne

A symposium on Sarkis,  Aby Warburg and memory.

Sarkis, Le Trésor de Mnemosyne, 1996

Taking its title from the book published in 1995 by visual artist Sarkis and art historian Uwe Fleckner, this symposium explores the influence of renowned art historian and cultural theorist  Aby Warburg on the artistic practice of Sarkis. Key-note speaker Prof. Dr. Fleckner was the first to draw a connection between Sarkis’ work and Warburg’s theory of memory.

Witte de With has made multiple copies of The Treasure Chests of Mnemosyne available for the audience to read and study, while the rare originals of this extraordinary publication are on display using Studio Miessen’s schooling environment elements as presentation modules. This library project will be open to the public from September 1 until October 28 2012.

Participants include: Uwe Fleckner (Prof. Dr. Art History, Hamburg University), Liesbeth Levy (Artistic Director, De Unie), Sven Lütticken (Prof. Dr. Art History, VU University Amsterdam), Sarkis (visual artist) and Alexandre Singh (visual artist).


Welcome by Defne Ayas, Director Witte de With
Theatrum memoriae. Warburg, Sarkis, and the display of images. Conference by Prof. Dr. Uwe Fleckner
Response by Sven Lütticken followed by Sarkis and Uwe Fleckner in conversation about The Treasure Chests of Mnemosyne
Break, soup and drinks are served in the Consensus Bar on the first floor
Sarkis and Alexandre Singh in conversation on Plato’s The Art of Writing will Make Men Forgetful in Phaedrus, 370 BC. This text is part of The Treasure Chests of Mnemosyne.
Response by Liesbeth Levy

Cost: €5 / €3 discount

Language: English and French(with live translation)

Watch here: Theatrum memoriae. Warburg, Sarkis, and the display of images. Conference by Prof. Dr. Uwe Fleckner with a response by Sven Lütticken.

Presented on the occasion of Sarkis’ installation Ballads, on view from June 2 until September 30 in the Submarine Wharf, and organized by Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and the Port of Rotterdam. For more information, visit

Upon presentation of your admission ticket from the symposium, you are entitled to a €2,50 discount on the admission fee of Ballads at the Submarine Wharf. Valid until 30 September 2012, not valid in combination with other promotions.

Witte de With & Rotterdam
An on-going public program & a series of collaborations.

Witte de With is dedicated to forging long-standing and flourishing partnerships throughout Rotterdam and to encouraging collaborations to tap into an expanded pool of knowledge and resources. As such, Witte de With has conceived a series of events in collaboration with select cultural and academic institutions in Rotterdam to explore current developments in (and beyond) contemporary art worldwide.

The Tresure Chests of Mnemosyne is supported by:

About the participants
Fleckner, Uwe Uwe Fleckner (born 1961) is professor of Art History at Hamburg University, director of the Warburg-Haus and co-editor of the collected writings of Carl Einstein and Aby Warburg. He is the founder of the Forschungsstelle Entartete Kunst (Research Center on Degenerate Art) and author of numerous books and articles on 18th to 21th century art history, especially on French and German art and art theory, and political iconography.
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Levy, Liesbeth Liesbeth Levy (b. 1964, The Netherlands) is the Artistic Leader and Head of Debate at De Unie, Rotterdam. She studied philosophy at the University of Amsterdam. She became Director of the Debate Department at the De Rode Hoed in Amsterdam after organizing debates for the organization. She was part of the staff of Rotterdam European Capital of Culture 2001. Levy is currently writing a dissertation on 10 years of debate and dialogue.
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Lütticken, Sven Biography Sven Lütticken (Kempen (Germany), 1971) Lives and works in Amsterdam. Artcritic and - historian Sven Lütticken studied art history at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam and the Freie Universität, Berlin. In 2004, he was granted the Prize for Art Criticism of the BKVB fund, Amsterdam. Lütticken teaches at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam and is editor for De Witte Raaf. He publishes regularly in (inter)national art magazines such as Jong Holland, Artforum, New Left Review, Afterimage, Texte zur Kunst, Camera Austria, and contributes to catalogues and exhibitions as writer or guest curator.
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Sarkis Sarkis Zabunyan (b. 1938, Istanbul), internationally better known as Sarkis, is an Armenian conceptual artist living in France. Sarkis studied at the St. Michel French High School and got his degree from Mimar Sinan University. Sarkis’ work has been exhibited internationally since the early 1970s at the Venice Biennale, the Istanbul Biennial and the Documenta in Kassel amongst others. The artist recently had a solo exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Invited by Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Sarkis will transform the 5000m2 Submarine Wharf in the Rotterdam docklands into a poetic installation during the Summer of 2012.
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Singh, Alexandre Alexandre Singh (b. 1980) is a visual artist and writer based in New York. Singh, who was born in Bordeaux, France to Indian and French parents was brought up in Manchester, UK before studying Fine Art at the University of Oxford, UK. Singh’s work derives at once from traditions in literature, performance, photo-conceptualism and object-based installation art. His work has been exhibited in venues throughout Europe and the United States including The Serpentine Gallery, London; New Museum, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Singh’s work is held by a number of private and public collections including MoMA, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Centre national des arts plastiques, Paris.
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About the collaborators
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is one of the oldest museums in the Netherlands. In 1849 the lawyer Boijmans left his art collection to the city of Rotterdam. With the acquisition of the Van Beuningen collection in 1958 the museum got the second part of its name. The museum houses a unique collection of paintings, sculptures and everyday objects. The collection of prints and drawings is one of the best in the world. The museum also organises a diverse programme of spectacular temporary exhibitions throughout the year.
Click for more info on Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen