Dr. phil. Franziska Uhlig
Franziska Uhlig studied art history and archaeology at the Technische Universität and the Humboldt Universität in Berlin. Besides working for exhibition projects like Theatrum naturae et artis. Die Sammlungen der Humboldt-Universität Berlin and for the short film festival Betting on Shorts, guest lectureships have taken her to the Humboldt Universität in Berlin, the Goethe Universität of Frankfurt /Main, the Berlin Weissensee School of Art and the postgraduate Interart Studies program of the Freie Universität Berlin and the University of Copenhagen. From 2006 to 2008 she was guest professor for aesthetics and art history at the University of Art and Design Halle. After numerous publications on the hand and tool in art theory and art historiography, on artist training and the systematization of color, the book Konditionierungen des Sehens. Über Farbpaletten, Fischskelette und falsches Fälschen appeared in 2007 (Munich: Wilhelm Fink).
Franziska Uhlig is currently guest professor at the Art and Design Department of the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar and a guest at the Research Fellow Program »Tools of Design« at the IKKM.
Research project at the IKKM
Thinking about tools is characterized by the perspective of training, practice and the acquisition of knowledge. As in Aby Warburgs card boxes, tools are sorted as attributive accessories, like the jewelry, emblems or everyday objects with which the bearers put their genealogical ancestry, their social status and their personal skills.
The research project takes a different path. Topologically the project concentrates on the exhibition Painting by Chimpanzees (ICA London 1957) and thereby on a situation in which pencils and brushes, as privileged tools of the artistic creative process, are extracted from their traditional function of being arbitrary aids in realizing an artistic idea, and passed on to two chimpanzees with the intention of proving the biological roots of art. Since the transfer of the writing implements was well planned, they were not swallowed by the animals, but rather put into use in the manner predetermined by the scientists. As the primates’ method of working with pencil and brush exhibited certain similarities to art informel, tachism and abstract expressionism, it was easy for the organizers of the experiments to classify the work of Congo and Betsy as art. The remarkable history of reception these works experienced is inconceivable without a concept of tools shared by all participants. The research project would like to use this complex constellation of the exhibition, first to elaborate this concept of tool and contextualize it in the current discourse about tools. The project further aspires to expose a view to the tool’s constitutive participation in the production process beyond its subjective reference.