Deep Formalism and the Emergence of Modernist Aesthetics
Those are used by Michalle Gal to formulate a definition of art in terms of a theory of Deep Formalism, setting aestheticism, which aspires to preserve the artistic medium, as a critique of the current linguistic-conceptual aesthetics that developed after the linguistic turn of aesthetics.
Chapter 7: Conceptual Mimesis
“In Art, it is criminal to go beyond the means used in its exercise. The picture ends where the frame begins”291 – I am returning to Whistler’s words, since they stand strong in both junctures in the history of aesthetics that we are discussing. These are:
1. The deep formalist turn, namely, the shift from the visual-mimetic model of art to the aestheticist one. This philosophical turn was accompanied by aestheticist and then Post-Impressionist art, theoretically supported by early-Formalism.
2. What I will call the linguistic turn in aesthetics – namely, the shift from the deep formalist model to the conceptual-mimetic one, which took place after aesthetics assimilated the terminology of the philosophy of language. The adoption of this vocabulary enabled a theoretical support of Pop-Art and Conceptual-Art, which accompanied the linguistic turn. “Theoretical support” supplied a philosophical confirmation that the pop piece was a real work of art. It was a redefinition of art so that the definition applies to these kinds of works. “The picture ends where the frame begins” – we encountered this claim in an essay written during the theoretical debate regarding the completeness of Whistler’s Nocturnes. It represents the question that instigated both shifts in models: which properties are internal to the artwork? In other words, which properties belong to the artwork? This is an ontological question about the ontological boundaries of the artwork – about what kind of object the artwork actually is.
Both turns in the history of aesthetics, I...
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