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Fine arts between primary and secondary discourse

Jurij Selan (2011) Fine arts between primary and secondary discourse. PhD thesis.

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    One of the most distinctive characteristics of postmodern art is, on one hand, a tendency to suspend what was traditionally known as “the artistic form” and “the experience of art”, and on the other hand, a sort of rivalry between artistic creativity and art interpretation (i.e. primary and secondary discourse) — in some cases the first one even being substituted by the latter. A postmodern individual, being a creator and a viewer, feels relentless desire to overtly intellectualize creative and interpretative processes and to interpolate an immense amount of (secondary) discourse between him and artwork. Such an approach which reduces the experience of art to the discourse on art, is what I call the social-constructionist approach because it defines an artwork exclusively as a social construction or convention. Although at first sight this approach may seem quite “logical” — given that one cannot deny that art is a social phenomenon and that it is affected by the culture “politics” — one cannot comply with it because it does not correspond to the reality of our experience. It can indeed explain the particular type of art that demands discursive determination — such as for instance postduchampian conceptual art — but it does not match any other artwork that primarily depends upon the lived experience, which is largely independent of social conventions and discourse. Namely, it is central for works of art such as for example Michelangelo's David that we experience as something special, irrespective of the changes in the discourse and regardless of the importance various experts affix them. This is the reason why the discourse cannot deprive David of its importance (because the experience would not verify it); however the change in the discourse can shake the status of Duchamp’s Fountain quite easily. The research presented in the dissertation thus finds its motivation in the recognition that the secondary discourse, as has been established in the Western art, only determines what an artwork means but does not concern with the way an artwork was made and what kind of psychosomatic experiences it elicits, despite the fact that the primary discourse shows just that — how art is and how it activates our psychosomatics. This recognition thus led me to thoroughly reflect on the hermeneutic problem — the relationship between the artistic practice (primary discourse) and the art interpretation (secondary discourse). Dissertation follows the thesis that today the search for the hermeneutic alternatives should be oriented towards »the primacy of the object«, that is towards the experiential value of the artwork itself and the specific laws of the artistic practice. This recognition eventually led the dissertation into the methodological problem and its primary research goal: to establish such a hermeneutic method that would put the proposed hermeneutic alternative to practice. This kind of hermeneutics, which primarily shows but does not tell, I call the deictic hermeneutics. Since the hermeneutic condition reveals itself as particularly problematic in the field of education, I try to verify the suggested method by relating it to the educational issues. Consequently, sections of the dissertation are succeeding in the following way: in the first section, I introduce the problem of the dissertation by the assistance of something I call a hypothetical art. Hypothetical art draws my attention to the conditions of existence in Western culture, which I then explore in the second section pursuing the perspective of two cultural types, culture of meaning and culture of presence. In the third section, I address the relationship between primary and secondary discourse and investigate the hermeneutic condition which prevails today. In the fourth section, I subsequently search for the hermeneutic alternatives by investigating the nature of an artwork and its primary discourse. The special attention in this section is drawn to the phenomenon of the artistic language and to the specific semiotic nature of artifacts. Based on that, I then propose the method of deictic hermeneutics. Finally, in the last section, I verify the proposed hermeneutic methodology in relation to the pedagogic and didactic problematic.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
    Keywords: discourse, primary discourse, secondary discourse, artefact, model, form, visual arts, hypothetical art, hermeneutics, interpretation, method, deixis, presence, culture of meaning, culture of presence
    Number of Pages: 452
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    red. prof. dr. Jožef MuhovičMentor
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=50126&select=(ID=2816110)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Academy of Fine Arts and Design
    Item ID: 588
    Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2012 14:59
    Last Modified: 27 Jan 2012 11:48
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/588

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