Display cases contain photographically-illustrated books and portfolios from the early days of Egyptology between 1850 und 1920. The presentation follows a contemporary displacement and transposition in the conception of 'hieroglyphs' and 'photographic images' as it is expressed for the first time in a passage of Dominique François Aragos famous speech given on 3rd July 1839 to the Academy of Sciences in Paris, in which he announced the invention of the daguerreotype. The Egyptian hieroglyphs appear - in Arago's words - as 'fake hieroglyphs' wich are now replaced by the 'real hieroglyphs' of photography. ('… de vastes étendiues d'hiéroglyphes réels iront remplacer des hiéroglyphes fictifs ou de pure convention.') According to an old tradition the Egyptian hieroglyphs (before Jean-François Champollion deciphered them in 1822), were considered a universal language, a sacred script, whose characters bear a natural, immediate relation to the objects in the world for which they stand. The history of the reception of hieroglyphics will be repeated in that of photography. For a moment, however, it seems as if the objective camera might be able to transform the conventional symbols of Egyptian culture, once again, to nature.
The presentation at the Folkwang Museum in Essen was made possible with loans from the photography collection of the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, The Heidelberg University library and the branch library of the Institute for Egyptology of the University of Bonn.
Real Hieroglyphs, display cases, egyptology books. Museum Folkwang, Essen, 2011
Maxime du Camp, Égypte, Nubie, Palestine et Syrie, Paris 1852 (Pl. 38: Palais de Karnak, Piliers deviant le Sanctuaire de Granit)
Maxime du Camp, Égypte, Nubie, Palestine et Syrie, Paris 1852 (Pl. 78: Grand Temple d’Isis a Philae – Muraille Occidentale)
Francis Frith, Lower Egypt, Thebes, and the Pyramids, London 1862 (Osiride Pillars at Medinet Habou – Thebes)
Auguste Mariette-Bey, Voyage dans la Haute-Égypte, Kairo 1878 (Vol. 2, Pl. 43: Thebes – Karnak)
Edouard Naville, Bubastis (1887–1889). Eighth Memoir of The Egypt Exploration Fund, London 1891 (Pl. XVII)
S. A. Abbas II Helmi, Catalogue des Monuments et Inscriptions de L'Égypte Antique, Vienna 1894–1909 (Vol. 3, p. 345: Colonne I.)
Émile Chassinat, Le Temple d’Edfou, Paris 1895–1934 (Vol. 11 / Tome 28, Pl. CCLXXXIX)