Phänomenologie, Semiotik und Bildbegriff: Eine kritische Diskussion


This paper aims at a discussion of Lambert Wiesing’s phenomenological picture theory. First, it presents Wiesing’s position in detail. It subsequently goes on to show the weaknesses and (terminological) problems of this kind of picture theory with the help of semiotic science and communication science. Moving on from this discussion the essay tries to develop a thesis to answer the question »What is a picture?«. It introduces the claim that a picture’s perception and recognition, understood to be a symbolic medium of communication, necessarily needs to be conducted in fictionality’s manner of reception. This means that the »how« of the visual presentation forces the viewer to confront the visual object in a »pretend as if«-attitude in order to enable him/ her to recognize it as a picture. Even though the observer knows that the recognized visual object is not a real object, he talks about it as if it would be one. Still, he does not treat it like a real object. The way the picture-object is depicted, determines the communication and the treatment of the picture’s representation, or in other words: a picture’s references to fictionality make its observer treat the picture-object like a fictitious construct though he knows that this is actually not the case like, for example, in a live broadcast on television.

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Händler, Matthias: Phänomenologie, Semiotik und Bildbegriff: Eine kritische Diskussion. In: IMAGE. Zeitschrift für interdisziplinäre Bildwissenschaft, Jg. 7 (2011), Nr. 1, S. 2-35. DOI:
 author = {Händler, Matthias},
 title = {Phänomenologie, Semiotik und Bildbegriff: Eine kritische Diskussion},
 year = 2011,
 doi = "\url{}",
 volume = 7,
 address = {Köln},
 journal = {IMAGE. Zeitschrift für interdisziplinäre Bildwissenschaft},
 number = 1,
 pages = {2--35},
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