In Defence of a Hermeneutic Ontology of Art

  • Georg Bertram Freie Universität Berlin
Parole chiave: art, artworks, art criticism, interpretation, transformation


The paper analyses Gianni Vattimo’s hermeneutic conception of art. It primarily focuses on the claim that art should be understood as a happening of truth (Heidegger) and thus as a practice of transformation. It argues that the claim has important ontological consequences, supporting this argument with references to Heidegger and Gadamer. In turn, this argument prompts an ontological investigation of art. The proposed ontology has at least four elements: first, works of art, which challenge producers and recipients; second, interpretive activities performed by those who engage with works of art in order to follow the configurations actualized by artworks; third, everyday activities that are transformed through the interpretative activities in question; and fourth, activities of art criticism that recipients use to evaluate the impulses they get from works of art. The being of art is constituted by a practice that brings together these elements in their relations to one another.