Artworks as Dichotomous Objects: Implications for the scientific study of aesthetic experience
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This article will address an issue that has been studied from both scientific and art theoretical perspectives, namely the dichotomous nature of representational artworks. Representational artworks are dichotomous in that they present us with two discrete aspects simultaneously: in one aspect we are aware of the scene or object represented while in the other we are aware of the material from which the representation is composed. The dichotomy arises due the incompatibility, indeed contradiction, between these two aspects of awareness, both of which must be present if we are to fully appreciate the artwork. Examples are given to show how artists have exploited this dichotomy in a way that conditions our response to their work. I hypothesise there is a correlation between degree of apparent dichotomy and strength of aesthetic effect, which could be experimentally tested. I close by proposing that scientific studies of aesthetic response to representational artworks should take their dichotomous properties into account.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience;
Pepperell, R. (2015). Artworks as Dichotomous Objects: Implications for the scientific study of aesthetic experience, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9:295 http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2015.00295.
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