Zeit, Performanz und die ontosemantische Struktur des Kunstwerks

Constanze Peres


Between time and art there are multiple relationships, which are on one hand characterized by the phenomenal or theoretical perspective on time and on the other hand by the various modi of artistic symbolizing. When in the eighteenth century the concept of art has been developed, which formed the base of the philosophical discussion until today, a division of arts according to their spatial or temporal features has been conceived. Quite important in our days is the theory of “Performative Aesthetics” of works of art. Four aspects or levels can be distinguished. 1) Syntactically one has to investigate, whether and in what sense time or elements of temporal structures constitute not only trivially but in a specific and irreducible sense the symbolization of works of art. In this context one may ask, whether it would be more adequate to speak of space- time. 2) Semantically (in the narrow sense) the question is about time as the sphere of reference for art. In this respect one has to differentiate whether the experience of time or scientific and philosophical theories of time can be the object of artistic symbolization. Regarding to the “phenomenal time” e.g. a first-person-perspective on time is presupposed , that refers to the “future” or the “past” of somebody. If the question is about a philosophical theory of time a structure of time could be the object of artistic representation, in which e.g. from the third-person- perspective the “before-afterwards”- relation of time is represented. What the “question about time” means in this context, whether a translation from a theoretical to an artistic system of symbolization of time is possible and what would be the modus of this symbolization, are considerations that concern the para-theoretical or pre-theoretical status of artistic propositions. The last example includes 3) a further level of argumentation, the aspect of the self-referential syntactic-semantic entanglement. If a conception of time is transformed into a work of art, then it must be transposed by the artistic symbolization. Symbolizing space-time must be understood as being not only a denotation, but also a (self- )expression and examplification. The artistic proposition refers to elements of “time” in such a way that it deals with time as a theme and/ or it is about time expressing elements of time exemplified by its own artistic form. 4) On the onto- semantic level every work of art is <the proposition of somebody – about something – for somebody> and becomes “real” within the event of (production and) reception. “Work of art” is to be understood as a 3-place relation of symbolization as an aesthetic process. Thus, the performative factor is brought back to the intrinsic 3-place relation that constitutes the work of art and this implies that every work of art possesses and shows and performs space-time as an elementary condition of sensual cognition (and therefore of the work of art itself). With this concept of work of art the claim of “performative Aesthetics” - “destructing” the traditional work of art turns out to be void. Work of art is an irreducible onto-semantic constellation insofar it reflects in its self-referential and intrinsic performative mode of symbolization the conditions of constitution of the empirical reality and cognition.


20th century philosophy; philosophy; philosophy of time; Wittgenstein Ludwig; ontological and ontosemantic process; representing and incorporating spacetime; work of art

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