Lara Bonneau: Research & CV

Form and Orientation in Aby Warburg’s Thought

Research Area 1: Displacements, « Dépaysements » and Discrepancies


Photo Lara BonneauMy research deals with the work of German art theorist Aby Warburg (1866-1929). I work on aesthetics not only as a discipline dealing with fine arts, but also as a discipline striving to establish the knowledge based on the senses through the senses themselves, and which places art experience to the foreground from the point of view of both creation and reception. Art history thus raises both a philosophical and anthropological questioning. Aby Warburg’s thought foreshadows a conception including both the study of “Grant Art”—especially those of Italian and Flemish Renaissance— and that of so-called minor works. Hence it opened research to investigating everyday images and objects. In his Fragments on Expression, he placed at the center of his thinking the study of decoration, ornaments, and tools in their various historical and cultural forms.

Warburg used to define himself as a “historical psychologist of human expression”. My hunch is his theory of “expression” lies on a genealogy of subjectivation as a process. Elaborating symbolical forms and human expression in all its aspects answer a psychic need in Warburg of orientation. Setting a distance with the outside world conditions orientation within cosmos and within oneself, and gives means to the emergence of the subject.

Often neglected until now, the philosophical sources on which Warburg drew need bringing to light. My research casts light on this background—from Leibnitz and Kant to Cassirer through Burckhardt and Nietzsche—as well as on the conceptual tools Warburg bestows on us, especially his merging of the notions of ‘form’ and ‘orientation’.


Current Situation

PhD student at Paris 1-Sorbonne University, and member of CEPA (Culture, Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art) and of “Morphologies” of Panthéon-Sorbonne University (Paris 1).

Education and Diplomas

2012-2015: PhD studies in Art philosophy and Aesthetics at the  Panthéon-Sorbonne University (Paris 1).  Dissertation title: “Form and Orientation in Aby Warburg’s Work”.

2010-2011: Accepted 12th (on 42) at the Agrégation national competitive examination in Philosophy (national recruitment examination for high-school professors).

2009-2010: 2nd year of MA in Philosophy—Panthéon-Sorbonne University (Paris 1). Mention TB (UK equ. First Class Degree). Dissertation title: L’individuation dans les philosophies de Gilbert Simondon et Jan Patočka.

2008-2009: BA in Modern Literature, option “FLE” (French as a foreign language)—Paris-Sorbonne University (Paris 4). Mention TB (UK equ. First Class Degree).

2007-2008: 1st year of MA in Philosophy—Panthéon-Sorbonne University (Paris 1). Mention TB (UK equ. First Class Degree).

2006-2007: BA in Philosophy—Panthéon-Sorbonne University (Paris 1). Mention TB (UK equ. First Class Degree).

2003-2006: Hypokhâgne and Khâgne (“preparatory classes” for École normale supérieure at Lyon) at Lycée Fénelon (Paris).

Professional Experience

2014-2015: French language at Kladno, in partnership with the French Institute in Prague. Classes of philosophy and French at the Lycée français de Prague (substitutions).

2011-2014: Philosophy for graduating highschool students at the  Montchapet highschool in Dijon and the Étienne Geoffroy Saint Hilaire highschool in Paris.

2008-2010 : Storekeeper at the French National Library.

2007-2008: Storekeeper at the Public Library of Information.

Other Activities

2010-2011: Writing and directing of the theatre play This is no cup of my tea in collaboration with Jiři Slavík, performed at Pontault Combault in March 2011.

2006-2007: French language classes at the detention house of Fresnes, with the association Genepi.

Recent Publications

  • Aby Warburg – Fernando Gil : de l’évidence à l’abstraction. Conference proceedings “Logiques de la forme”, Paris, Garnier Classique, forthcoming 2016.
  • Glossary of Fragments sur l’expression, Aby Warburg, Paris, l’Ecarquillé, forthcoming Fall 2015.