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Suspended
 Subjectivity:
 Intention
 in
 Making 
Art

Park, So-Young. 2013. Suspended
 Subjectivity:
 Intention
 in
 Making 
Art. Masters thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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 Subjectivity:
 Intention
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 Making 
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Abstract or Description

This
 paper
 addresses 
the
 notion 
of 
intention
 in
 art 
by 
examining 
the 
intuitive
 intention
 the 
artist 
discovers 
in 
the 
process 
of 
making 
art, 
in 
relation 
to 
the 
conscious 
intention
 that
 we
recognise 
in 
daily 
life. 
I 
explain 
it 
with 
the 
case 
of 
formalised 
figuration
 (figurative 
images 
in 
formal, 
abstract 
compositions) 
employed
 in 
both 
pre‐modern 
East
 Asian 
scholar 
painting
 and 
early 
modernist 
painting,
 prior 
to 
advanced
 “abstraction”. 
In
 parallel, 
I 
compare
 the 
Taoist 
concept
 of 
wu‐wei 
(無爲:
 action 
without 
intention)
 –
 particularly 
Zhuang‐zi’s
 – 
with 
Hegel’s 
notions 
of 
self‐consciousness,
 each 
of 
which,
 respectively, 
influenced
 the 
thinking 
of 
these
 two
 distinct 
artistic 
traditions.

While
 wu‐wei
 emphasises
 forgetting 
self‐generated
 consciousness 
of
 intention,
 and
 harmony 
with 
nature,
 Hegel
 predicts 
the 
historical
 development 
towards
 self‐consciousness
 in 
its
 separation
 from
 nature.
 However, 
Hegel
 then
 directs
 self‐consciousness
 towards 
returning
 to
 nature,
 as 
an 
acquired
 second
 nature, 
i.e.
 habit
 of
 mind. 
I
 consider
 that 
forgetting 
in 
wu‐wei
 corresponds
 with 
the 
habitual
 mind 
of
 second
 nature.
 Yet
 a
 question 
remains
 regarding
 how 
to 
forget 
an 
intentional 
mind
 without 
that
 very 
intention 
of 
forgetting.

I
 introduce 
John 
Cage
 and 
Roland 
Barthes 
as 
notable 
figures 
who 
dealt 
with
 this question.
 Yet 
Cage’s 
speaking
 of 
nothingness 
and 
Barthes’s 
effort 
to 
exterminate
 authorial 
intention 
continually 
recall 
the 
issue 
of 
intention, 
alongside 
the 
dilemma
 of
 self‐negation.

Instead,
 I 
find
 the
 answer 
in 
the
 early 
modernists’ 
questioning 
of 
seeing, 
as
 an 
artistic
 mode 
of 
self‐consciousness, 
in 
connection
 with 
formalised 
figuration.
 Painting 
becomes
 the
 way 
in 
which
 the
 artist 
questions 
the 
habitual 
nature 
of 
seeing
 in
 a
 conscious 
state 
of
 purposiveness, 
yet 
without 
the 
content. 
One
 forgets 
oneself 
in 
doing 
everything 
possible
 within 
the 
given 
condition.
 Formalised 
figuration 
arose 
from 
the 
correlative 
duality 
of
 this
 given 
condition 
– 
physical 
doing 
and 
virtual 
understanding
 through
 this 
doing.

Item Type:

Thesis (Masters)

Keywords:

intention of art; artist's intention; subjectivity; self-consciousness; selfhood; wu-wei; modernist art; abstraction; meaning in art

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures

Date:

2013

Item ID:

10352

Date Deposited:

23 May 2014 16:11

Last Modified:

13 Jul 2018 05:40

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/10352

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