Critical analysis of the concept of art in contemporary art texts

Alessandrini Szorenyi, Caterina (2017) Critical analysis of the concept of art in contemporary art texts. Masters thesis (MPhil), University of Sussex.

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This thesis investigates how art is conceptualised in writing about art and what this reveals about hegemonic ideologies underpinning the conceptualisation of art. The concept of art has been studied from many perspectives (i.e. economic, philosophical, cognitive, etc.) and the importance of texts describing, evaluating and interpreting contemporary artworks has been recognised by many authors (Carrier 1987, 2003; Danto 1981). These texts present representations and evaluations of artworks according to views or perspectives on what contemporary art is and, more importantly, what good contemporary art is. The influence of these texts in the art field depends on the cultural and symbolic capital of the writers as well as institutions or media behind them. This thesis revises the representation of the concept of art through the analysis of the notions used in the textual descriptions of the concept of art, the artistic practice and the art object. This work aims to identify key notions and conceptual relations used in the textual representation of the concept of art in contemporary art texts.

This thesis employs qualitative analysis which follows the stages of identification, interpretation and explanation. The identification and interpretation of the data makes use of a number of cognitive-linguistic constructs (‘frame’, ‘image schema’) as well as constructs from Discourse Theory (‘relation of equivalence’ and ‘relation of difference’). It studies two small corpora: four English broadsheet papers and four specialised art magazines (press reportage and magazine writing). NVivo10 was used to mark-up frames and the tags applied are termed nodes. The frames identified are interpreted and grouped in terms of broader notions that help the classification of the results found. These results are the basis of the explanation which speculates about the underlying ideologies behind the presentation of art in writing about art.

The most used group of frames used in the data shows the notions that have a tendency to occur and thus are considered relevant for the contemporary understanding of art and more importantly, they indicate the conceptual structures considered as producing quality in contemporary art. The findings show that positive evaluations of the concept of art are generated through the use words evoking image schematic notions of ‘motion’, ‘force’, ‘linkage’ and ‘container’. The classification of frames showed that the aspects of art that are more frequently mentioned in the representation of art are communication and cognition. The most frequent frames that emerged from the data are: Living entities, Rite and Records. Findings also show differences between representations in the two sub-corpora, particularly in the reference to commercial aspects more popular in the Press sub-corpus and the use of the frame Detachment (which evokes the image schema PART-WHOLE) in the Magazine sub-corpus. This way the thesis studies the textual constitution of the representation of the concept of art through the use of notions and conceptual relations in order to examine the hegemonic representations of art in texts from important art institutions.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > English
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR > N0061 Theory. Philosophy. Aesthetics of the visual arts
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 31 May 2017 15:39
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2022 15:37

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