Jacques Aumont Former Fellow and Advisory Board Member

Jacques Aumont
October 2009 - April 2010


Jacques Aumont is professor at the University of Paris III and directeur d'études cumulant at EHESS (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales). After working at the ORTF (Office de radiodiffusion télévision française) from 1965-1970 and as an editor of the Cahiers du cinema from 1967 to 1974, he started his academic career lecturing at the Université de Paris I from 1970 to 1976. He then was a lecturer at the Université de Lyon until 1983. Stays as a visiting professor include the University of California-Berkeley, the University of Wisconson-Madison, the University of Iowa, the Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen and the Universidade de Lisboa.

Dated from 2010

IKKM Research Project

I am dealing with the representation of the sky in pictures from the last two centuries.

Pictures : any surface bearing some marks may be taken as a vague metaphor of the sky; I restrict myself to figurative images, which represent rather than metaphorize.
Sky : the sky is a very particular »object« of our ecological experience of the world: everyone sees the sky. However, »seeing the sky« is a difficult phrase, as we do not know exactly what we are seeing. The vision of the sky has given rise to two main imaginary models: the blue sky, the starry vault of heaven—i. e., on the one side, a diffuse colour yielding no perception of space, on the other side, the fantasy of a vault upon our heads. Figuring the sky is thus a challenge, implying two main problems in representation, touching respectively on phenomenological exactness and the place of the observer.
Periodization : I start with the development of »pleinairism«, and its concern with rendering the vision of air and space. I shall follow this thread, through the avatars or Impressionism, up to the cinematic iconography. The early 19th century is also the time of Friedrich and his religious staging of the sky as heaven; I shall also follow this track, until recent developments in the work of Bill Viola among others. hypotheses : 1, the sky seldom escapes, in its figuration, the religious connotation—in part because of the difficulty of its perception and the mystery of its vastness; 2, such connotation is to be found in many solutions for representing the sky; 3, I therefore shall privilege the opposite intuition, that the sky is—at least regarding images—a material subject. My research will have as its locus an investigation of the possible meanings of this latter sentence.


Moderne? Comment le cinéma est devenu le plus singulier des arts, Paris: Cahiers du cinéma 2007.
Le Cinéma et la mise en scène, Paris: Nathan 2006.
Matières d'images, Paris: Éditions Images Modernes 2005.
Ingmar Bergman, mes films sont l’explication de mes images, Paris: Cahiers du cinéma 2003.
Les Théories des cinéastes, Paris: Nathan 2002.
Amnésies. Fictions du cinéma d’après Jean-Luc Godard: POL 1999.
De l’esthétique au présent, Brussels/Paris: De Boeck et Larcier 1998.
À quoi pensent les films, Paris: Séguier 1997.
Introduction à la couleur: des discours aux images, Paris: Armand Colin 1994.
Du visage au cinéma, Paris: Éditions de l'Étoile 1992.
L’image, Paris: Nathan 1990.
L'œil interminable, Paris: Librairie Séguier 1989, 1995.
Montage Eisenstein, Paris: Albatros 1979, 2005.

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