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Arts and representation. Imitation and representation.

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Arts and representation

Henri Rousseau, The Football Players(Henri Rousseau, The Football Players.)

The notion of “representation” depends on the question one asks at the beginning of the problematic and at the beginning of the art itself. It takes on a very special meaning if one wants to grasp the meaning of the work of art, and its relationship to beauty. The work of art is a form of “re-presentation”, that is, it presents the reality of the universe in another way. The work of art does not live from its more or less adequate relation to the real, but from the affects it produces; for example, Munch’s paintings do not represent a form of sadness, but produce a feeling, an emotion, which for some is called sadness, for others abomination. It is perhaps because it produces affects, and is in itself a “universe”, that the work of art is beautiful (contemporary art is beautiful when you have hung on the initiation that the artist seeks to provide for us). Or else, as Arthur Danto does, beauty must be discarded which, for the ancients, was only a criterion of compliance of the work with aesthetic judgements. This is what he explains, through the analysis of certain contemporary works.

This is the great difficulty of the arts of our time: they are often linked by intellectual directions and experiments that cannot be read directly and without knowledge of their genesis: they are wastelands of discoveries that will perhaps become real works in the eyes of humanized machines (post-futurism).

Never is a young work understood without having assimilated its genealogy. However, it will be noted that the term “art” is too commonly applied to any spectacular mediatization, and this to its detriment.

Artistic mediations go beyond and transcend all the problems of knowledge of the world. The study of physical phenomena and the evolution of technologies play an important role, since they often influence the tools of creation. Artistic experimentation, parallel to scientific experimentation, thus forms the basis for the development of a new aesthetic, supported by the growing place of techniques in everyday life.

Art could therefore serve to reproduce eternal concepts conceived or imagined by contemplation alone. The origin of art comes from the knowledge of ideas and things, but transcends this knowledge to present it differently, thereby becoming representation. If indeed art sets itself goals (which of course goes against its nature), one of the outstanding goals of art would therefore be to communicate the profound knowledge acquired not only by the senses, but also by the mind. The art of pure imitation will always be very far from the real thing: the work cannot be as beautiful as the real thing; it is of another order, and will only ever grasp a very small part of it. The imitation of nature never translates its level of beauty, while the artistic representation reveals an absolute specific to the artist, a truth of our natural and inimitable space.

Imitation and representation

The Great Wave of Kanagawa, by Hokusai  (The Great Wave of Kanagawa, by Hokusai)

But this production is not necessarily of a voluntary nature. Unlike other human productions, the act of creation is most often located outside the field of consciousness. It allows us to access a communication of the spiritual, the universal, the timeless. Nietzsche also believed that art should serve to mask or embellish all that is ugly in human nature. However, today, certain arts born of modernity, such as cinema, seek as much to embellish human nature as to highlight all its darkness in the hope perhaps of extracting the seeds of misunderstanding. and intolerance.

The cinema, at the limit of art, gives to see daily credibility, which updates, like the novel, but in more restricted way, a human experience that we could not discover otherwise.

This logic leads art towards a necessity, experienced from within by the artist. Music, more than “the art of organizing sounds” reflects the expression of an “other” sound entity, of an unreal and unconceptualizable form of communication; it is a total imagination, which brings together both new representations and a new conception of their construction. Like the other arts, it expresses the rational and the irrational, but departing from myth or magic.

All creative processes operate, through the very spirit that guides them, a catharsis that guarantees an overcoming of the limits imposed on knowledge of the world. The sensory symbiosis that nourishes the creative action is only the elementary form of the representation that infers the imaginary.

As a different approach, more turned towards the spirit than towards the thought, art must inevitably lead to the extension of the work of a dominating nature and confined to evolutionary transformations. Attempting to free itself from these limits of human thought, art rediscovers the spiritual, almost mystical, almost magical substance of creation. This desire to quench our thirst for knowledge is not necessarily unhealthy. Myth and magic are not fundamentally escapes from the lack of rationality of the events that surround us, even if they are, for some, admissions of weakness, transfigured limitations.

They can sometimes also mark the search for an absent spirituality. Art, on the other hand, is always a necessity to express the world in this way. It does not seek to replace reality with another entity of better consistency; nor does it seek to transgress the limits inherent in our nature, but it seeks to transcend them. Art seeks to use the world of the senses to enter a world of the spirit, or perhaps even that of the soul. In doing so, art seeks the immanent behind the permanent. He tries to prove that human potential is not reduced to transformation, but that he has conquered the dimension of creation.

Translated and adapted from Wikipedia by Nicolae Sfetcu

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