THE ARTS AFTER «MORPHOLOGY OF THE ARTS»: ART OBJECTS AND CULTURE-CENTRISM

L. A. Zaks / Л. А. Закс

Abstract


The article deals with a number of essential formal language peculiarities and contents of the modern (the second half of the 20th – early 21st century) arts, for a variety of reasons, not represented in M.S. Kagan’s outstanding book «Morphology of the Arts». The analysis of formal language peculiarities seeks to elucidate the art objects widely used by contemporary arts. The author compares semiotic characteristics of traditional artworks and art objects.  The conclusions are made that demonstrate the specific and complex, «multi-level» by nature, semiosis of art objects functioning consistently and synchronously as autonymous signs, signs-indices and signs-symbols. The article reveals the specific content of each art object’s semiotic «modes». It also diagnoses radical content innovation in the modern arts. Recognizing fundamental systemic genetic links between the arts and culture and the impact made by sociocultural system changes on the arts evolution, the author introduces a hypothesis that   innovative contents and language of contemporary arts is determined by fundamental revolutionary developments in the modern system of culture as a whole. The most important integral result of this peaceful revolution in modern culture is its increasing predominance in social and individual life, the culture’s gradual conversion from the so-called ‘second nature’ into the «first nature». This fundamental process involves, in the author’s opinion, changing the deep foundation of traditional artistic consciousness: the nature-centered paradigm of the artistic consciousness (worldview), having existed since the arts’ beginning, is being replaced with the culture-centered one. Culture, its specific reality, its own characteristics, structures, processes and products, become the core object and subject of contemporary arts (Actual Art in particular) that leads to innovative contents of the arts and its new forms and languages as well.   


Keywords


the arts; the modern; or contemporary; arts; culture; artwork; artistic convention; traditional and innovative semiosis; art objects; autonymous sign; sign-index and its associative mechanism; sign-symbol and its spiritual contents

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