Can something created be something known


Preliminary remark


If one assumes that our perception necessarily has to abstract in order to be able to meaningfully organize all the impulses that flow into our sensory organs, then abstraction is first of all a matter of course.

In cooperation with memory, one can imagine that the essentials to which the manifestations of reality are reduced are the elements that cannot be assigned, that are new, unknown or dangerous. The known does not need to be particularly taken into account, since one knows the manifestations and the associated effects. You only have to pay attention to this to a limited extent, since it can at least be the case that something supposedly familiar turns out to be something completely different.

Another reason to dedicate oneself to the known is the possibility that there is so little "new" to experience in a situation that one can devote oneself to the known and perhaps discover unknown sides of the known. This possibility has been opened up by civilization, which has reduced the dangers that come from nature to a minimum. One can "enjoy" the sensual impressions of the object, one can completely surrender to one thing. The new no longer only comes from outside, but it is the result of constantly new ways of dealing with well-known things. This is certainly an important source of cultural activity.

The "special", which is no longer given by everyday living conditions, is created artificially, special features are created through artistic and cultural interventions, which can be used as objects (pictures, furnishings, clothing, etc.) or as unique situations (the drama, the concert or the special social event like maybe a wedding) can get our special attention.

Example: corks


Abstracting modes of perception


The iconic perceptual tendency, which proceeds from "knowing", can be traced back to the identification of a known figure modifying tendencies investigate.

In these modes of perception, the iconic perception tendency always comes first, all others can join in and modify. It only makes sense here a to investigate further tendencies in addition, of course one could also consider further modifying tendencies, but that would immediately open up an all too large number of fields of investigation. Again an illustrative example of how superficial any analytical work must be.

e.g. the tree


aesthetic abstraction

An impulse coming from outside can be recognized because it is stored as a constant of perception. When I turn on the light switch, I assume that it will be light. This impulse can also be perceived in isolation from the object as an independent "quality" (e.g. 'bright'). This includes the so-called 'material properties' that can be perceived by the senses as "aesthetic abstraction". We will encounter this phenomenon again when we examine the non-representational.


gestural abstraction

There are inner sensitivities in response to external impulses. Such sensitivities may be known to us. We know that we are curious, for example, we know that we feel inhibitions when we are spoken to. We can recognize inner sensitivities as a "spontaneous reaction" to certain external impulses. E.g. approaching a goal, or paying attention, showing interest, but also escape behavior, but also, for example, hunger and tiredness in response to internal impulses. These "gestural abstraction", which is reflected as a change in motor skills, we experience in relation to the external impulse, yet we experience our behavior as independent of the triggering impulse." Again, "I felt this way and that," again I could do not resist it ... "We will encounter this phenomenon again when examining the non-representational (as, incidentally, with all other modes of abstraction.)


deep symbolic abstraction

We know the recognition of abstractions at t-sy WvW from "moods", "sensations", "feelings". On the one hand, these are related to the triggering impulses, but can still be described as independent feelings. We can do that deep symbolic abstractions describe with excitement, joy, fear, sadness, hate, love, happiness, etc. and recognize sensations as such.


iconic abstraction

The iconic abstraction is the area of ​​classification of objects and situations. The "cup" belongs here as well as the "evening".

The example here is "autumn leaves", or "maple leaf".


individual symbolic abstraction

The individual symbolic abstraction has its area in preferences, or dislikes, which represent certain identifying features related to the individual. These are e.g. preferences for certain styles, colors, fashions, which can apply as a characteristic for the person regardless of the specific external impulses (e.g. in the form of a certain piece of clothing). The person himself experiences this individual symbolic abstraction in that he identifies himself with certain situations and experiences them as a characteristic of his own person.

In the example we can only assume that this type of self-presentation is a kind of identity pattern for the person, which corresponds to their self-perception - otherwise they would probably not show themselves that way.


Language-symbolic abstraction

The Language-symbolic abstraction we know from all cultural phenomena. Language itself is able to set "words" for certain things regardless of the concrete external impulse. But also all functions of society, such as road systems, supply routes, social networks, and then also the specific sections of the media including the Wild West film or the talk show or the opera are expressions of this language-symbolic abstraction. And we know that it is easy to distinguish a motorway from a country road or an opera from a video clip.

The example shows a poster for a "war film".


indexal abstraction

The indexal abstraction concerns the topic of "lawfulness". Regardless of the specific occasion, there are general scientific or social laws that can be described as such. If properties are asked for in aesthetic abstraction, it is here about the regularities of these properties. As always with indexals, we are dealing here with a special closeness to O. Not that O could be fully grasped via the indexal, but that which is accessible to the human mind can be described here and put into general sentences. The knowledge of certain connections that are not visible in the concrete relationships or that appear, but still have an effect, is the essence of indexal abstraction.

The example shows a ship that we generally know that it normally swims, that it should come to rest here for the winter, etc.


abstract abstraction

This could also be called the "abstract of abstraction". However, it must be about a recognizable quality of iconicity, i.e. a double identifiability. From the iconic point of view, this quality is defined as an event that is known in many ways, and from the abstract point of view, this quality is defined as something that can fundamentally existentially be experienced, one could thus encircle it as the concretion that is determined by the abstract. This is to say that the abstract as such is never concrete itself, but that it always appears in a concretion. If one understands this concretion as a manifestation of fundamental existential connections, then precisely this perception is one concretion the abstract abstraction.

In addition to the motif as a topos, the example shown has a connotation of farewell, uncertainty, and calm, which can be understood as existential constants.


Abstract representations


The initial question for this is: "How do the abstracting modes of perception developed above concretize on a picture as an abstract form of the iconic aspect of the sign"?


The aesthetic abstraction on the level of the formulation (O '')

The aesthetic O '' abstraction finds its expression in accordance with the mode of perception in the attempt to create a formulation that is recognizable in its quality of appearance. The viewer should then use the impulse coming from the picture as a constant of perception recognize to be able to.

This impulse is primarily independent of the motive. As a constant of perception, it must appear on the image carrier, but also have a quality that can appear on many image carriers after it. The material nature of the surface, the luminosity of the paint application, the gloss, the transparency of the paint layers, the contrasts that arise through the use of materials, etc. are forms of expression of this aesthetic abstraction on the level of the image. This mode of representation differs from the aesthetic ZA as such in that the surprising, the possibly new thing of an aesthetic-sensual experience is in the foreground, while here the sensual stimulus consists in the recognition of known, "interesting" stimuli. In addition to the aesthetic ZA as such, it must make certain aesthetic constants visible that are "identifiable". This appears to be the case, for example, when it comes to styles, e.g. Impressionism or the aesthetic quality of a Dutch still life master of the 17th century. It becomes clear that the aesthetic O '' abstraction can certainly come in a 'representational', even highly iconic guise.

The example shows a "mandelbrot tree" or "apple tree" which is based on the mathematical principle of constant, identical fanning (fractal). Fractals have the property of self-similarity, i. This means that every small piece of the fractal has the structure of the entire object. The stringing together of these identical elements with a computer program results in a high aesthetic quality.


The gestural abstraction at the level of the formulation (O '')

The gestural O '' abstraction presents itself in the manner, in the handwriting of a painter. In contrast to the general aspect of gestural signs, the focus here is also on recognizability. The so-called "comma technique", the unmistakable style of Van Gogh, the so-called Tachism are manifestations of the gestural O '' abstraction. The touching "painted with the foot", in connection with the deep symbolic aspect of the sign, also has its place within the gestural O '' abstraction. The gestural abstraction becomes objective at the moment when the essential recognizable gestural means are directly linked to the expression of the object: The painting of a lace fabric in Dutch painting, for example, or the "dabbed" flowers in a picture by Monet, or the massive formulation of a piece of jewelery in a picture by old Rembrandt (eg "The Jew's Bride", approx. 1668).

The picture shows an excerpt from a self-portrait by Van Gogh. His handwriting is so well known and unique that you can easily recognize a "Van Gogh" in it.


The deep symbolic abstraction on the level of the formulation (O '')

The deep symbolic O '' abstraction has its "most striking" appearance in certain "images" of emotionally assignable "mood and sensation values". The bloodied corpse, the lone warrior look of the Marlboro / Camel cowboy, the criminal photo, but also the lovely, "romantic" landscape are all forms of this t-sy O '' abstraction. In spite of the very direct and concrete image, it is an abstraction, since it actually does not depend on this individual image, but rather this should evoke an unconscious sensory situation that is at stake. The concrete picture is only a means of transport. It is about the representation of a "feeling for life" (or rather "feeling for life style"). This happens in motifs in which the motif itself does not actually play a role, such as the sunset, the beautiful gypsy and the roaring deer. But this possibility can also be found in the field of "serious" art: the vanitas motif, the seascape, and of course the entire nude painting, with its lavish appeal to the libido. Independent of the motive, this form of abstraction becomes effective again in certain color tones, with corresponding "psychological" color effects (a "provocative" color, a "brutal" color tone etc.), in imposing formats, in "gorgeous" stagings, whereby the channel's own character is in its t-sy moderate possibilities are exploited.

The picture shows Courbet's painting "The Wave".


The iconic abstraction at the formulation level (O '')

The iconic O '' abstraction affects the whole spectrum of the subject area. Here it occurs when the individual in itself is not meant, but the object is representative of the whole class of these objects. The "image of man", the "still life", the "landscape" etc. are examples of this class of abstraction. It is primarily about the degree of abstraction, which, always on the basis of the recognition of a "motif", nevertheless places very specific motif characteristics and properties in the foreground. It is about the so often praised "typical" of a certain subject area in order to present the ability of this in a meaningful way. The decisive O '' 'effect is the fact that the viewer experiences the so-called typical features, which he can further specify individually, even without actually knowing the motif of the painter and thus of the O' '. The bull by Picasso, the chicken by Hokusai is so "abstract" because it reduces the complex features of a context to the outline and then enriches them in the sense of the abstract ZA with information that can essentially only be conveyed via the abstract ZA. The iconic O '' abstraction almost always has the 'form' as its object, 'abstracting' is almost always understood as a reduction to the objectivity, the simplicity of the form, the outline. All the other possibilities of abstraction (see "cork") generally refer to other levels of abstraction. (Function on index, material property on aesth, etc.)

The example shows the picture by Katsushika Hokusai "Mount Fuji with a South Wind", around 1823-29, London, British Museum. The Fujiyama (Fujisan), as the sacred mountain of the Japanese, has been painted, drawn and implemented as printmaking umpteen times.


The individual symbolic Abstraction at the formulation level (O '')

The individual symbolic O '' abstraction is primarily important for recognizing the painter as a person. It manifests itself in a variety of references and is one of the central themes of art historical studies. The individual symbolic abstraction will remain unrecognized as such without background knowledge of the peculiarities of an artist. The author himself may well be aware of it. If one does not know the connections, the perception is more likely to grasp the special and will not be able to classify this as "typical" or known.

Example: We recognize a "real" Warhol here.


The linguistic symbolic Abstraction at the formulation level (O '')

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TheLanguage symbolic O '' abstraction is probably the central representation of all sculptures alongside the iconic. Every form of language abstracts to a certain extent by definition, because language is aligned according to classes and the individual as "name" differs fundamentally from the "word" of language. Nevertheless, this phenomenon is clearly broken with pictures: In spite of all s-sy dominance, the picture production is still more "name" than "word", since on each picture in the structure of the overall statement a (usually) unmistakable statement is made, the itself is recognizable as an individuality. The language-symbolic O '' abstraction is effective in the overall context of "style", "school" and "workshop", but also in the context of capturing the motif. This is to say that the idea of ​​painting a flower still life, for example, is a symbolic decision. The compositional relationships are also often subject to s-sy constants, which as such are also demanded by the audience. Art criticism also ensures that the language-symbolic O '' abstraction is properly adhered to by measuring pictures against other pictures, showing role models and cross-connections and of course only allowing the spotlight to be put on painters who, in the sense of marketing interests, make this possible.

Example: Willi Sitte, chemical worker at the control desk, 1968, oil on canvas, 148x101cm, Dresden Gemäldegalerie


The indexal abstraction at the formulation level (O '')

The indexal O '' abstraction is closely related to what has just been said: The cultural context, which is of central importance for the understanding of image information, often appears in connection with the s-sy level. Since the indexal WvW still requires knowledge of overall cultural relationships (and also of relationships that are 'natural', such as climate, landscape), this level of abstraction is in a certain way easier to recognize, but in a certain way also more difficult. Easier when the current living environment is relevant as a carrier of meaning for the message of the picture, and therefore there is no problem, more difficult when this is no longer possible with the means of present comprehensibility, but when sources and other historical investigations are carried out have to be in order to develop this environment. Then this includes knowledge of the economic, sociological, and geographical environment. The indexal O '' abstraction differs from the indexal ZA as such in that it also includes very differentiated peculiarities, the index-iconic representation includes, for example, such phenomena as depicting the allegory from the religious context, while the indexal abstraction represents the overall field as a background. The distinction between index. ZA and index. WvW can be created by having index. WvW always refers to the actually tangible surrounding space (and thus only in special cases encloses larger historical fields - it rather moves in the tangible and directly 'knowable' present), but the indexal ZA reception always points to the past or to the unknown is oriented because images are 'indirect' media.


The abstract abstraction on the level of the formulation (O '')

What is this all about? On the one hand, it's about iconicity, i.e. the recognition of an identity of whatever kind. This iconic or this identity must have a quality that represents a type, something general, which does not characterize this individual identity in an abstract way, as is otherwise the case with the iconic, but the abstraction must also point to an existential constant. The typical is not only typical for the individual, but stands for something that can existentially.

So the question is to what extent that iconic-abstract can be understood and represented from the point of view of the abstract. In the case of the basic types of modes of representation, there is so far only the indication that the Greek gods, as figurations, embody abstracts of human modes of being. That means in general: The abstract as O '' has an identifiable form that appears as an abstract allegory or as an abstract symbol. The forms of abstract allegories can be found next to the various figures of gods (probably also those of other religions) in certain symbols. E.g. the triangle of the "trinity", the mandorla, (what other examples can be found? ...)

The essence of abstract allegory is the visual illustration of ideas that have an abstract quality as opposed to a culturally coded idea of ​​a linguistic symbolic allegory. The abstract allegory is then, in contrast to the abstract symbol, which represents the abstract in a language-symbolic way, a form that rather places the iconic parts of the visualization in the foreground. Hence the many personifications in the field of allegory.

The possibilities of the abstract symbol (still as an iconic abstraction) move on the level of signs that express something "correct" in terms of the abstract based on their structure and the qualities of the visual variables. "Lightning", "Wave", "Sun" (here always with the rays) are such abstract symbols, also 'Yin and Yang ") In contrast, pure language symbols reveal them, only the initiated can read them. Abstract symbols may also be that "Cross", but this sign also has the "secret character" that speaks for s-sy. Nevertheless, the cross is an abstract symbol. It is iconically immediately recognizable, linguistically defined and abstractly possibly "correct".

Example: Eugene Delacroix: Freedom Leads the People (1830), Musée National du Louvre, Paris
The painting by the most important representative of French Romanticism refers to the revolution in Paris in July 1830, which had deeply shaken the painter. The people are led to victory by the allegory of freedom, portrayed as the Jacobean Joan of Arc.


The abstract symbolizations are possibly more diverse than can be seen at first glance: Perhaps a good part of the visual variables (format, perpendicular etc.) can be counted among the abstract symbols, since these already have a symbolic character, because they are in have a clear function in visual contexts. The extent to which this deprives them of their abstract quality, because they are possibly formalized in s-sy and thus robbed of their original meaning, still needs to be considered.