On Thursday, July 17, at 4:00, Professor Emeritus Chris Mortensen of the University of Adelaide will be presenting an introduction to Swedish graphic designer Oscar Reutersvärd’s collection at the Lilly Library.
A fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, Professor Mortensen focuses his research on relevant and modal logics, philosophy of logic, philosophy of mathematics, cognitive science, metaphysics, and inconsistent mathematics, including a study of inconsistent images also known as impossible images. These are objects that appear solid on paper but that cannot be built.
The Lilly Library acquired an archive of over 350 original Reutersvärd drawings in the spring of 2014, and Professor Mortensen is among the first international scholars to conduct research using this one-of-a-kind resource. In addition, Reutersvärd’s correspondence is included in the archive with manuscript letters, extra drawings, clippings, original photographs, and exhibition posters.
With a history dating back to Pompeii, impossible images can be found in medieval altarpieces, Renaissance etchings, and more modern works by artists such as Duchamp and Magritte. Reutersvärd was the first to draw such images in a systematic way, creating over 4,000 pictures and being honored for his work by the Swedish government in the 1980s.