The un-original Origin of Art has an un-essential Essence: The Heideggerian Issue


The paper discusses the possibility of applying Heidegger’s considerations on art to the problematic and multifaceted field of contemporary art. The questions of origin and essence, which we are accustomed to refer to the metaphysical tradition, take on new significance by connecting art not to beauty, but to truth. In this epochal change of position, we can find the identity of contemporary art, which reveals itself not by offering edifying meanings, but by indicating a horizon of comprehensibility in which we are involved. Starting from the innovative status of the Dasein as a projecting being-in-the-world, the horizon of comprehensibility of contemporary art outlines a context in which there is no subjectivity using a work, but in which an encounter happens. In its intrinsic and sometimes complacent contradictoriness, contemporary art, especially installations and performances, always manifests its identity as a struggle between truth and untruth, as an event that has no steady ground, and no unique or ascertained origin or monolithic essence, and which is nevertheless expressive and meaningful. The quality of being an event implies that contemporary art is not something objectifiable, representable, or categorizable, but is something that happens. What happens cannot become a substantial foundation, because it remains perpetually a happening, which affects us with its different languages and perspectives. The poetic matrix of contemporary art indicates the uniqueness and unrepeatability of each work of art, which shows us how the un-originality and un-essentiality of art is the main pathway to arrive at an experience of the world that each time is like the first time.

Keywords: Heidegger, art, contemporary art, truth, origin/un-originality, essence/un-essentiality

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