Art And Experience In John Dewey's Art In Germ

867 Words4 Pages
As far as I can remember, I have always been enchanted by art; and while I give credit to the artists who brought me infinite pleasure by creating the beautiful things that I have had a chance to read, to see and to listen to, what has always fascinated me is the way people around me react differently to the numerous masterpieces of art. That is one of the principal reasons why I could not miss the opportunity to look into John Dewey’s reflection on how the experiencing of art can be rationalized, explained from the pragmatic point of view. Another reason for my choice lies in the value that Dewey’s theory clearly presents to my researches: present as well as future ones. When working on literary texts, I believe it is important to fully grasp…show more content…
Experience, in the most general terms, is an interaction between an organism and the environment, which he or she inhabits. If this interaction is enjoyed to its fullest, it transforms into participation and communication, i.e. doing and undergoing. Experience thus is understood as 'the fulfillment of an organism in its struggles and achievements in a world of things ', which is, in fact, 'art in germ '. Dewey underlines, that the aesthetic experience is to become the measuring concept for experience in general: if every experience contains an artistic impulse, the aesthetic experience in itself is the artistic recreation of the work of the author: the recipient creates his own experience while undergoing the same struggles that the creator of the work consciously went through. Without an act of recreation, he adds, the object is not perceived as a work of…show more content…
As it has been already said, the work of art makes us engage in our own mental activity, which results in our perception of it. For the unity of perception of the work of art one should be careful to a) establish an appropriate rhythm between doing and undergoing, where the basic components of aesthetic experience (cumulation, tension, conservation, anticipation and fulfillment) keep interacting with one another, generating sequences of relatonships; b) to investigate only the elements of the work in question without subjecting the work to the preconceived ideas. Perception of the work of art turns out to be the aesthetic experience itself, if the operations we have performed (doing and undergoing) achieve a final balance – that is to say if all the many-sided elements of the work have been fused into a shape. Only when the perception is ordered and clear it becomes an aesthetic experience that shall be felt as an expansion of ourselves.
At the end of the chapter, dedicated to Dewey’s theory, Wolfgang Iser reasonably concludes: “Dewey’s argument has now come full circle” . Indeed, according to Dewey’s theory, we need the work of art to set off an aesthetic experience, however, at the same time, only the aesthetic experience can enable us to make sense of the range of experiences that the work of art consists of. Yet, according to Iser, it is that exact circularity that allows Dewey ‘to theorize art as experience within the pragmatist boundaries of the notion of

More about Art And Experience In John Dewey's Art In Germ

Open Document