Thursday, January 24, 2013

Another Question of Aesthetics

"September", Gerhard Richter, 2005, oil on canvas, 52 cm x 72 cm

The questions of aesthetics can be aproached under what one could call a environmental perspective which can be understood as the fact that one can find the occurrence of an  aesthetic undercurrent - in the sense of aesthesis (see "A Question of Aesthetics") - even though it may not be predominant[1]. A work of art,  and in particular a good work of art, can be identified and understood in one of such occasions when we recognize the work within three criteria: proportion, balance and complexity of the occurrence of the aesthetic current[1]. One example that can illustrate this reasoning could be the painting "September" of Gerhard Richter. When the 9/11 attempt took place in New York, Gerhard Richter would have probably noticed the beauty of the flames' colors when one of the planes hit the building. It is obvious that to declare such thing can be seen as something horrible. But we are in presence of one of those occasions within which undoubtedly occurs an aesthetic undercurrent. By painting  "September" Gerhard Richter took to the work those three aesthetic criteria - proportion, balance and complexity - transposing a terrible occasion into a work of art.
By opposition to the Gerhard Richter painting we have the images of that event that bombed our mind in a constant manner - and which are an icon of today, moreover - by the mass media where every characteristics of formalization of a work of art could be present if it wasn't for those three criteria dictate something else: at least when it comes to balance and proportion of the occurrence of the aesthetic undercurrent of that occasion we can find that we are not in the before a work of art but just being informed. This "imagetic bombardment" from the mass media take us to another base-concept of the aesthetic experience: the concept of perceptual commons[1]. A perceptual common is, so to speak, a right which can't be claimed juridically, of direct access, and any restriction to that access is considered a deviation from that condition. For illustration sake: I have the right, although I can't claim it juridically, of walking down the street without being bothered by the bad smell carried by the wind from a remote sewer. Another example: I have the right of being at a cafe and not being bombarded with horrible images of a catastrophe, all the time, by the TV news. The concept of perceptual commons take us to another field of the aesthetic experience. The field that doesn't merely concern the critic and analysis of art but moves us from there in the direction of a wider sense of the aesthetic experience (always whereas aesthesis): the way of being in the world by the man and his human condition[1]. Art can "only" be one of the ways man is in the world and one of the ways that the human condition can assume.
[1]Arnold Berleant, "Sensibility and Sense",2010 

To know more:
Arnold Berleant, "The Aesthetic Field", 1971
Arnold Berleant, "The Aesthetics of the Environment", 1992
Arnold Berleant, "Sensibility and Sense",2010

"Gerhard Richter in the Studio", an interview with G. Richter in Youtube (click here).

No comments:

Post a Comment