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01 JULY 2014

The art object does not embody a form of knowledge

"In this paper, I start from the position that the proper goal of visual arts research is visual art. An alternative position is that the art making process yields knowledge that is independent of the actual art objects produced. However, this relegates the art object to that of a by–product of the knowledge acquisition process, and, in my view, places visual art making in the service of some other discipline. Notwithstanding the fact that valuable knowledge may be acquired in this way, from my standpoint it would be undesirable for this to become the dominant mode of arts research. Therefore, from my position the most interesting proposition to explore is the claim that the art object is a form of knowledge since it locates the art object as a central and fundamental component of the knowledge acquisition process.

Nevertheless, as you will see, in this paper I argue against this proposition. I will not claim that the visual art object cannot communicate knowledge–it can. Instead, I will argue that this knowledge is typically of a superficial nature and cannot account for the deep insights that art is usually thought to endow into emotions, human nature and relationships, and our place in the World, etc. In short, I aim to demonstrate that visual art is not, nor has it ever been, primarily a form of knowledge communication; nor is it a servant of the knowledge acquisition enterprise."

(Stephen Scrivener, 2002)

Scrivener, Stephen (2002) "The art object does not embody a form of knowledge". Working Papers in Art & Design – Vol 2.

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CONTRIBUTOR

Liam Birtles
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