Aesthetics After Metaphysics: From Mimesis to Metaphor by Miguel Beistegui

By Miguel Beistegui

This booklet makes a speciality of a measurement of artwork which the philosophical culture (from Plato to Hegel or even Adorno) has continually neglected, such used to be its dedication – particular or implicit – to mimesis and the metaphysics of fact it presupposes. De Beistegui refers to this measurement, which unfolds outdoors the distance that stretches among the practical and the supersensible – the distance of metaphysics itself – because the hypersensible and exhibit how the operation of artwork to which it corresponds is healthier defined as metaphorical. The stream of the booklet, then, is from the classical or metaphysical aesthetics of mimesis (Part One) to the aesthetics of the hypersensible and metaphor (Part Two). opposed to a lot of the heritage of aesthetics and the metaphysical discourse on artwork, he argues that the philosophical worth of paintings doesn’t consist in its skill to bridge the gap among the practical and the supersensible, or the picture and the assumption, and show the practical as proto-conceptual, yet to open up a special feel of the practical. His goal, then, is to shift the place and role that philosophy attributes to artwork.

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6 Imitation will only ever provide a one-sided appearance (Schein) of the reality it depicts. As such, it can never make visible the liveliness (Lebendigkeit) of real life. It will only ever consist of an illusion of reality. ”7 One can wonder the extent to which, despite this condemnation of mimesis, formulated in the strongest possible terms, the metaphysical paradigm that Plato had introduced remains fi rmly in place, thus forcing and reinstating mimesis at a more fundamental level, forcing it even more deeply underground, as it had for the Romantics.

Art is total because it encompasses nature in its totality. It is precisely that total conception of the artwork that Adorno will reject and, in what amounts to an ironic twist, oppose imitation to mimesis, understood this time as the forever incomplete and postponed, yet always promised unity for which the artwork stands. Metaphor as I understand it, however, enables us to relinquish even the idea of art as a promise of happiness, without falling back into a metaphysical ideal of absolute identity.

3 Let me add, in passing, that whereas for Schopenhauer the genius is driven by Ideas, which are a matter of pure perception, imitators and mannerists are driven by concepts, which, as abstractions generated by our faculty of reason, belong not in art, but in science. 5 Unlike Plato, though, Hegel’s strong condemnation of mimesis goes hand in hand with a revaluation of the role of art in relation to truth: if art were essentially a matter of imitation, it wouldn’t be worth anyone’s time, not even that of the artist, whose initial pleasure at having reproduced the appearance of an object would almost immediately turn into boredom and dissatisfaction.

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