Unreal Nature

February 26, 2019

Something New

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:56 am

… The elements make the whole possible but do not contain it.

Continuing through The Sociology of Art by Arnold Hauser, translated by Kenneth J. Northcott (1982):

… The closer we get to the origin of a work, the further we may be from its artistic meaning. If there is an interdependence between the work and the biography of an artist, it is a mutual and dialectic one. The biography of an author is determined as much by the nature of his works as these are by the nature of his personality. The artist sums up his life in his work and predicts the outlines of his work in what he experiences. He anticipates the material and the significance of his art in his biography, but the content of his life consists only of what he can fashion as an artist.

… As soon as we have green, yellow and blue disappear. The elements make the whole possible but do not contain it. Just as the nature of the components disappears when they combine, so the quality of the whole ceases to exist when it is once resolved into its component parts. Even in those cases, however, where the properties of the elements do not entirely disappear — for example, those of copper and tin in bronze — a new property may appear, namely hardness, which is completely new, is completely unpredictable, and could not, in theory, be produced.

[line break added] Sociological units are part of this sort of integration. Individuals with their particular natures, interests, and aims are not eradicated in social structures, but take on a whole set of characteristics they do not possess individually. Every structure of this sort unites factors which do not of themselves allow us to draw a conclusion about the whole and which when synthesized produce something new while at the same time retaining their original properties.

My most recent previous post from Hauser’s book is here.

-Julie

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