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Meta-art as genre: A phenomenological investigation of self-conscious art

Fuery, Patrick (1983) Meta-art as genre: A phenomenological investigation of self-conscious art. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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This study is concerned with two min issues: (1) the generic analysis of a group of texts based on self-reflexivity of form and self-consciousness of artist and/or reader and (2) the way in which these texts affect the relationship between artist, reader and text. This thesis claims that one cannot simply describe meta-art as a set of distinct objects because what we describe as meta-art is to a considerable extent the result of the reception and analysis of such texts.

Thus the proposed definition of a meta-art genre demands a study of the extended role of the reader in the development and creation of individual texts. In turn, the analysis and subsequent formation of a genre based on self-reflexivity and self-consciousness reveals that the meta-artistic text strongly encourages both the creative and critical reading processes. Meta-art is therefore as much a critical medium as it is an artistic type.

If one compulsion for the study of meta-art is the critical inquiry of the reading processes which it invites, another is an explanation of the ongoing genesis of artistic texts themselves. The genre is significant in the historical development of art because it demonstrates one of the major trends in Modernist and Post-Modernist aesthetics: the reaction against Realism and Naturalism and subsequent development of unique styles and notions of aesthetics. Though the socio-cultural aspects have not been at the centre of this study, the connection between the formation of self-conscious art and contemporary sensibilities has been regarded as self-evident.

Reader aesthetics and reception theory demonstrate that relationships between artist, text and reader are of quintessential importance to the understanding of the anatomy of the meta-artistic text. However, the critics' insistence on a hermeneutics of the new form is tempered by the outward turn of the texts themselves. Hence analytic impartiality tends to be consumed by the self-conscious and self-reflexive demands made by the genre: the reader becomes co-creator, a distinct reading competence is required, and interpretation is directed towards both text and the self.

Meta-art is seen as unique because it is the first genre to devote itself consciously and entirely to the analysis of the operation of the artistic text as a set of relationships between creator, text and reader. The artistic text itself invigilates the creation and reception of art, and hence moves close to critical treatise.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Human Communication
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Coste, Didier and Ruthrof, Horst
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