01 July 2010

Arthur Schopenhauer on Art



It is not immediately necessary to know what Herr Professor Schopenhauer believed to be the fourfold forms of reason nor is it necessary to be familiar with his definition of will for our purposes here:

. . . . All these, of which the common name is science, proceed according to the principle of sufficient reason in its different forms, and their theme is always the phenomenon, its laws, connections, and the relations which result from them. But what kind of knowledge is concerned with that which is outside and independent of all relations, that which alone is really essential to the world, the true content of its phenomena, that which is subject to no change, and therefore is known with equal truth for all time, in a word, the Ideas, which are the direct and adequate objectivity of the thing itself, the will? We answer, Art, the work of genius.







It repeats or reproduces the eternal Ideas grasped through pure contemplation, the essential and abiding in all the phenomena of the world; and according to what the material is in which it reproduces, it is sculpture or painting, poetry or music. Its one source is the knowledge of Ideas; its one aim the communication of this knowledge. While science, following the unresting and inconstant stream of the fourfold forms of reason and consequent, with each end attained, sees further, and can never reach a final goal nor attain full satisfaction, any more than by running we can reach the place where the clouds touch the horizon; art, on the contrary, is everywhere at its goal.




For it plucks the object of its contemplation out of the stream of the world's course, and has it isolated before it. And this particular thing, which in that stream was a small perishing part, becomes to art the representative of the whole, an equivalent of the endless multitude in space and time. It therefore pauses at this particular thing; the course of time stops; the relations vanish for it; only the essential, the Idea, is its object.





We may, therefore, accurately define it as the way of viewing things independent of the principle of sufficient reason, in opposition to the way of viewing them which proceeds in accordance with that principle, and which is the method of experience and of science.


From The World as Will and Representation,
pp. 184-85 [emphasis his].
Paintings on display at Fábrica la Aurora.

Which again brings up this issue: Must my own apprehension of the direct and adequate objectivity of the thing itself coincide to any degree with the artist's conception of the direct and adequate objectivity of the thing itself? Any solipsist worth his salt would immediately respond that the artist's conception of the direct and adequate objectivity of the thing itself is totally irrelevant and beneath consideration.

But if that is the case, who is "communicating?"

2 comments:

Candy Minx said...

Must my own apprehension of the direct and adequate objectivity of the thing itself coincide to any degree with the artist's conception of the direct and adequate objectivity of the thing itself?

No.

But if that is the case, who is "communicating?"

The subconscious mind of the viewer is non-verbally communicating to the conscious mind of the viewer...

Just like dreams.

Prescription? Go rent "Inland Empire".

:)

Señor Steve said...

I might have known that it would be you who would come through for me, Candy. We will go with that theory.

I daydream about being able to walk into a contemporary art museum with Schopenhauer. I think he would get it very quickly. I would have to get him out of the movie theater first though.