index.html  The Interartistic Phenomenon as an Intermedial Structure in the Arts



Vassilena Kolarova





Key words: Intertextuality — Julia Kristeva, Michaïl Bakhtin, Gérard Genette, Roland Barthes, and the author’s idea about the interartisticity; intermediality. Center for Research on Intermediality; interart – Florent Albrecht; intersemioticism – Jacques Fontanille




The overflowing of shades between literature, painting and music


In this study of the interartistic phenomenon we shall chronologically follow the development of the definitions related to this notion, and while arranging them, we shall take into account their significance for the germination of this interartistic vision, connected to the emblematic personality of Julia Kristeva, and whose chief definition is– intertextuality. We shall refer also to the works of Gerard Genette and examine the definition of transtextuality introduced by him, which he terms as literature of second degree and which by content is closer to the concept of interartistic phenomenon. Intertextuality correlates to a very wide stream of philosophical thought during the entire Twentieth Century, as a wonderful prelude, dating from ancient times.

This intellectual thought was known as early as since its emergence in the 70s and does not need any elaborate presentation in this study considering the notoriety of the „semiotic adventure” (Bart). Our study is directly affected by intertextuality and therefore we shall devote it well-deserved attention. Intertextuality embodies practice open in time, subjected to constant changes triggered by the structuring of the text as it used to appear, by complementing it to achieve finished look in the future.

According to Kristeva, poetic language is also a language of dialogue Footnote (dialogical principle – of interdiscoursivity Footnote ). The smallest unit of meaning ranges from 0 to 2, i.e. there is an interval that allows to escape from the meaning of the current language, and which gives more freedom of interpretation. The meaning of the signifier is dynamic. Generating meaning to the infinity of the paragramme may be illustrated by a triangle Footnote , reminiscent of the one of Peirce. The triangle may be viewed as three-dimensional since it is polyvalent in its connotations at each point. Thus linearity is impossible, the meaning generates.

We shall concentrate on certain excerpts from the text of Kristeva Footnote , directly relating to the interartistic problem, even though on a global level: We may find the relation between the two signifiers: picture / text or text / picture, in any field, by interpreting the literary text as artistic, in the following excerpt: “…dialogical signifiers … Each narrative... contains this dialogical dyad …, which is rendered to a dialogical relationship Signifier/Signified, The Signifier and the Signified being the one in relation to the other, each in turn, Signifier and Signified, but this is just a game of overturning two Signifiers. Only through some narrative structures this dialogue, this dual presence of the sign, this double meaning of the written text, are exteriorized in the organization itself of the (poetic) discourse, at the level of occurrence in the (literary) text.” Footnote

The textual picture is more and more visualized, stretching to infinity. Kristeva talks about the picture of text at a moment of reorganization; the picture comes to life from the shuffling of texts, which movement is realized by „rewriting with a pencil what the brush has already drawn. The pencil started to run fast from the top downwards on the white paper while following the same vertical fields whose route was preceded beforehand by the brushes. This time no moving on to the palette, no change of the tools, no rubbing of colors, would slow down the action, quickly gathering speed. The same landscape appeared in the background, but being of secondary interest, it was destroyed by the personalities in the foreground. The gestures, felt directly and immediately as alive…the silhouettes, curiously funny, and the faces with staggering resemblance had the desired expression, at times gloomy, at times cheerful... Despite the contrast of the décor, the painting recreated the exact idea of heated street traffic.

How can we miss to read the metaphor of textual activity in these lines, that surpasses the limitations of speech (painting with a brush), swallows it and destroys it with heated gesticulation, in its turn to freeze into a new impression that could resemble anything.” Footnote We permitted ourselves this long excerpt as citation to illustrate the mixing of the two activities. This is an imaginative route of the words to the picture. It means opening the structure of the signifying practices to the signified. When Kristeva studies Mallarme’s works, the author of the idea of the total artifact, she mentions the trans-sign. Footnote Kristeva explains that Mallarme is one of the first authors that practice the language of paragrammes, the interference of texts, words, forming a spectrum. What kind is the spectrum, literary, color or musical? And the interartistic fusion continues with other spectra. The letters play the role of space differentials, mimicking the colors of a picture. The sound, which in its turn becomes color, brings out another opening of the text … The textual dimension reveals the entire constellation of re-impersonations: “ The phonetic word, the oral expression, the sound itself become a book: less written text, the novel thus is the transcription of the vocal communication.” Footnote



From transtextuality to pure transcendence


Genette perceives intertextuality as a particular type of transcendence of the authorship – transtextuality, which encompasses numerous types of relations:


architextuality Footnote , which is an impossible to classify essence of the genre, since genre is a notion incapable of being defined in practice due to its constant alterations.

paratextuality , whose role is to give a natural feel to the work of art

metatextuality, as a critical discourse, which we cannot do without. The critical discourse is always well-respected, if good, constructive and poetic, even if secondary and not so artistic in nature. Even Butor himself, who wrote critical essays, admits it.

intertextuality, which encompasses citation, plagiarism, allusion

hypertextuality, whose hypotext and hypertext are two structural components of paradigm– parody, pastiche...


What we need to highlight is the interartistic nature, more clearly expressed in the last type of relations. The remaining types of relations are less prone to interartistic influence, even though it is possible to occur in them too.

The Palimpsest Footnote is a concept with a changing characteristic, distinguished by ambiguity and requiring prolonged interpretation, which can be applied to any art, even though it more likely has literary origin (A parchment, through which you can read the previous work of art like through a mirror). This notion perfectly matches the interartistic with all its varieties interpictorial and also intermusical, interarchitectural, intersculptural waves … Genette Footnote conducts a particularly poignant and interesting study of all practices related to the interartistic analyses of the works of art with variations. The works with variations are in fact sequences of an open creation in another genre or art. Genette’s study approximates another study, just as original Footnote as the one of Umberto Eco– “The Open Creation”.

Genette uses the term transcendence in his study of the work of art as a whole Footnote , and of literature as part of art. He uses this term to bring to the foreground the idea that we never read the same book when we read it a second time, we never look at the same painting, we never listen to the same music, because the representation does not cease to change with each interpretation of the work, regardless of whether for the same reader, or for somebody else. In this case different digressions may be distinguished, leading to unchangeable interartistic wholes, since the work is always on the move... We agree with him that the work of art is an integral part of art as a whole …

We shall take as reference point the most valuable of Genette's ideas, the one about the concept of literature as art. Footnote Poeticism is a canton of the theory of art and estheticism. The fields of literature and art are hybrid. The artistic Footnote is a typical characteristic of art, felt through each subject or field relating to art. For this kind of relationship he refers to the opinion of Croce, even though his thesis as a whole does not relate to him. The literariness is included in the artistic. The genres, which are hard to determine, need to be specified, so that the vague involved in the artistic activity be reflected correctly. Genette turns the question posed by Nelson Goodman around … “ …not What is art? But When is there art? Not so much the arts as the art, …they say there is art in this and that... and even not so much art as a whole as artisticity (artisticité).» In our study we adopt the term artisticité as equivalent to artistique.

 The work of art is immanent, in what it is and what it expresses. It is a whole belonging to itself. Immanence originates in the ontological status of the creation. It is a physical object in painting and sculpture. Literature and music possess the ideal immanence. Genette allocates the works into a classification similar to the one of Sauriau. Footnote The question Genette poses is whether “ …(the effective) multiplication of “ the Thinker” or of an engraving like “ Melancholy» of Durer is of the same nature as a musical or literary piece е” Footnote The answer is equivocal, due to the specific status of the work of art. Genette uses the qualification of Goodman Footnote to clarify its thesis by setting himself apart from some postulates of the American philosopher. Goodman divides the works into autographical – unique, like a painting, sculpture, performance (of tangible nature, occurring by itself) and allographic – literary text, musical composition, project of a building (of ideal characteristic ), since architecture, just like the musical piece or the literary text interpretation is always individual (one gothic cathedral would rarely be a full copy of another). In the second case the works are perceived with a reduction. The allographic works are physically multiplied into numerous copies: books, musical scores, constructions... The work generally always happens autophically in the ideal, and most of all abstract sense. The boundary between two regimes turns out to be vague and hardly distinguishable, with numerous variants. Also mixed cases exist. Testimony of this, for example, is the calligrams, which “ combine ideal text with materialistic graphicity.”. According to Goodman Footnote intermediary variants exist, as is with autographic arts with numerous or unclear subjects – for example the performances, a modern art, representing specific case. The performances are autographic due to the large number of different representations having numerical identity, but at the same time they are allographic, they have specific identity, typical for all works repeating themselves in a different way. The immanent autographic objects are prone to transformation, while the immanent allographic objects may not be transformed without changing in depth, i.e. without becoming other. Genette gives as example the mural painting of “The Last Supper” which, despite the damaging sway of time, will always remain the same creation, belonging to Leonardo.

Transcendence is the exact opportunity for the visions of interpretation to multiply to infinity, i.е for the work to cross the threshold of its imminence. Each potential author views the previous creation in his/her own unique way : “ …this scream of the work to all the rest is felt implicitly and deserves a lot, I believe the name transcendence. Footnote The transcendence that Genette speaks about is the transcendence of the boundaries between arts that Kant examines in “Criticism of the Ability to Reason” – something we shall revisit further down. The work transcends and does not cease to alter in a continuous series of multitudes... Therefore the concern is interartistic receptiveness, also included in the semiotic process of work creation. The work is dynamic.



 Kant and the concurrence of numerous arts in one and the same work


We cannot possibly overlook in this paper this great theologian in philosophy – Kant, and especially a central point in his study, which appears to be central also to ours. This point, we reckon, is of primary importance both for his fundamental aesthetics and for the clarification of the interartistic phenomenon. A valuable idea with regards to the unbreakable bond between arts in the work itself Footnote is by nature laid down in his works and this idea is extremely relevant having in mind the latest modern studies. It includes the study of the bonds being established between arts, ostensibly separated from the interartistic. This is one of the strongest points in the philosophy of Kant on art, which critics have not adequately investigated, as they should, but have abandoned themselves to the tide of the problem about the reasoning on beauty.

We may sketch, through the prism of the transcendental aesthetics of Kant, an interpretation related to the perception of the work of art, which refers to the phenomenon, as subject to the empirical intuition. The matter of each phenomenon is given to us only à posteriori (i.е. when the work of art was already created by a given author). The feeling that arises from it exists in space and time as pure intuition, which is a form à priori of sensitivity. Space presents things the way they are in our consciousness. Time allows us to perceive the phenomenon subjectively. Therefore we believe that space and time may reach a crossing point and merge their borders, at the perception of the phenomenon, bearing in mind the overlapping of two phenomenal realities. Furthermore Kant speaks of another opportunity given à priori, which approaches the idea of the synthetic reckonings given a priori. The interartistic has the quality of an a priori. The interartistic phenomenon each time may accept a different reality in the consciousness of the perceiver of the painting or any work of art where more arts are put side by side. This is possible due to the polyvalent nature of art as a specific symbolic form – a concept, which is later developed in Cassirer’s philosophy of art based on the transcendental laws of Kant. Kant gives the following triad of branching of arts: Painting-Music-Literature.


He takes as reference point this interartistic triad, from which the synthetic strands between them are weaved at a secondary level, to be given directly and to highlight their relationship when present in a given universal piece of art. Krassimir Manchev Footnote also shows the main arts in a triad: Language of gestures – musical language – plastic language, which also are intermingling at a secondary level in his chart. Any attempt to design a table of arts in complete pureness is impossible, there always remains a slight shade in the “color” of the respective art.



Peirce and the Phenomenon


 The Phaneron (1.284) “ The phaneron is a synonym of phenomenon : this is something, which is present in a given consciousness, here and now, regardless of whether this thing is real or not.» Phaneroscopy, as a specific variant of phenomenology, studies the sign as a phenomenon, i.е in the context of a relationship. If we study this communication specifically in the field of art, we shall see that the phenomenological perception is of deciding importance for the interpretation of the meaning of context, regardless of the type of configuration of the interference between arts or of the kind of accumulation of arts at one and the same point in time, at the same spot – whether more or less intensified.



Polyvalence of the triangle...the appearance of the pyramid


Peirce’s triangle is expressed in a multidimensional way in art since it has polyvalent meanings, which trigger the broadening of the visual range. The different planes Footnote of the Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary combine in a pyramid. Each one of them independently recreates the relationships in the sign–between the representation, object and interpreter. The triangle expands beyond the normal boundaries of interpretation to transform into a pyramid by becoming three-dimensional.

One object of reality reflected in the painting may be interpreted in different ways depending on how the observer perceives it. The representation of the depicted object contextually changes its meaning depending on the interpretation. Meanwhile the representation of the visually depicted object enters into a relation with the representation of the visualized on the picture. Thus a complicated dynamic structure of the sign is achieved, which may be multiplied in its interpretations since what is shown on the picture, depending on the interpretation, may change its interpreter, and respectively its representation, which in its turn changes.

Likewise Kandinski breaks apart the two-dimensional space of the painting to reach the universe. This idea is valid for any analysis of a creation, literary or musical. The perception of the representation may be of a different kind– sound, visual, i. е. The pure icon, which is left in the basis of the object, analyses and characterizes it, becomes sound or visual depending on the perception. The interpreter of the painting, text or song allows an interartistic transformation into a continuum … We insist on emphasizing that we mean the interartistic, since subject of the study is the relation between arts within the work we are examining at the moment, whether painting, literary text or song... The interartistic functions during this understanding by the interpreter solely in the case of art since it is inseparable part of the creative energy itself. This meaning of the semiosis is valid for each semiotic relation, whether historical or other, but since the meaning acquires intermedial expansion Footnote , it remains outside our scope of study, unless it serves to explain the complicated interartistic structures. If, for example, we examine a painting of Kandinski, we may perceive the colors as sounds. This means the representation changes depending on our perception.

The varied bonds, which the metaphor offers, are realized at the level of the Primary and the pure icon, because this is an undetermined condition of transformation. The perception of the representation (the primary) may be of a different kind – sound, visual, i.е. sound or visual icon with different kind of representation. The interpreter allows interartistic transformation into a single continuum … The hypoicon, which is something of the tertiary, allows incessant interpretation, where it itself becomes an interpreter. It is included in the process of receptive aesthetics, in the capacity of a work of art, which in its turn gives birth to another work of art.



The pyramid


All points of the pyramid symbolize the intersection, the commonness between the trichotomies of sign, established by Peirce (representation, object, interpreter). Therefore they may be perceived as a starting point for all elements of the sign (representation, object, interpreter). They become mutually replaceable. The representation is taken into a polyvalent context. The relation of the sign with its object describes exactly the ability of mutual replacement of the representation, object and interpreter. The pure icon falls into the category of the Primary and allows us to mentally envisage the configuration of the tangibly perceived image as a representation. If it is realized in the form of a hypoicon, which in its turn falls into the Tertiary and has the nature of a work of art, the latter, in its capacity as an interpreter, may give rise to the same sequencing. Whoever perceives the hypoicon, recognizes it as a starting point to another hypoicon (i. е. work of art). It appears like a representation offering a new configuration whose interpretation would trigger a new hypoicon, i.е. the interpretation, in its tertiary status, enables the open process of perception – creation, reading, writing. The process of perception is subordinate to the creative process, remains in the basis and proves the unity of the triad – representation, object, interpreter. The icon is unstable.



The metaphor


Peirce establishes three levels of iconism within the hypoicon, which are ranking as tertiary: the Image , the Diagram, the Metaphor, whose representative nature is imposed thanks to the relationships established between two representations in parallel.

Fisette Footnote expounds an idea about the metaphor, which we share, more precisely the idea about “ … the progress of the multitudes, which become more sophisticated ( in the exact meaning of this term the analysis allows a boundlessly open field of interpretation). Something, which is exceptional”, as he insists, “is the accumulation of features belonging to two ultimate categories – to the Primary, about the virtual character, and to the Tertiary, about the aspect of mediation.” Fisette continues: “This is the densest component, the most explosive component … considering the effects from the movements of the semiosis, which would have been potentially generated.” Therefore the observer of the work of art builds a complex of plans, which are layered. In his/her consciousness the continuum of meanings, which are mutually intersecting and layering, increases. The performed analysis Footnote of the relationship between the representations shows that during the examination of an abstract painting they are different. In the painting of Paul Klee, for example, the painter expresses the melodiousness with the help of vague and broken apart forms, which seem to emerge from the depths of the most concealed parts of the soul, to fade out and find privacy. The painted object becomes different through the representation, it is hard to distinguish at perception and it establishes many relations with the sign. The continuum is infinite. The representations are different and are abundant. In the course of their relations the invisible interartistic bonds are tied. They are the foundation of each new blending between the arts and contribute to the minutest (barely perceptible) virtual perception of this multidimensional nature of arts. The analysis may acquire a metaphorical expression in the wider sense as well, i. е. Seeking metaphors of this kind may take place inside (within) the virtual sign. Because we are interested in the relation between the representations (showing the different representations in the process of interpretation of a given work of art), which is what the metaphor actually is, and not so much the individual representations by themselves. The representations are numerous thanks to the polyvalent interpretation of the observation of the painting or reading of the text. It is necessary to provide a greater proof. If proven at a higher level, during a successive stage of the analysis, effects from layering may be found also among the representations of the different arts and their mutual fusion in a particular field of art.

The metaphor of Peirce, as he perceives it and expounds it in his theory, is most consistent with our understanding of the interartistic phenomenon, because it reflects it in the definition, which the semiotic gives it – remarkable upon the transfer in an exceptional way particularly of the idea of arts communication, and more precisely of the principle ratio between the two virtual intermedial realities, taken in the broader sense.

Metaphor is a milestone stage in the process of achievement of a polyvalent interpretation of the sign, requiring the discovery of the cosmic space and time and their meeting point, which allows the weaving and crossing of abstract realities. Semiosis is dynamised, since it expands its field of study and puts aesthetic creativity in motion.

It is only through metaphor that the field expands to several trends and at least two realities layer up: “… the ones, which have a representative nature of representation, showing a comparison into something else, are metaphors.” A representation assumes all kinds of aspects in different contexts, hence the interpretations ad infinitum within a third field of art. Such representation, for example, is the leitmotif Footnote of the song of jazz in the novel The Nausea of Sartre:


One of these days

You’ll miss me honey


It exists concurrently as a song and as text in interartistic parallel. The representation has the ability to multiply infinitesimally. And something else, a literary citation may be a picture with words, a song, and at the same time poetry, etc. Thus, the interartistic metaphor, becoming more and more impregnated, is gradually amplified by the intensiveness of the spectrum of interpretation. The metaphor, as well as the semiotics of Peirce, is studied in its abilities to interpret the literary text Footnote .

The literary text, in its capacity of representation of the object in reality (immediate or dynamic), becomes the interpreter of a given painting, and in its turn, in its capacity of representation of the literary text, the latter is transformed into an interpreter of a given music and so on, in line with the context we are in and the immediate object, which is contextual. We are witnesses of a number of representations, obeying a timeless and spaceless axis, fully emotionally dependent on the art, from which it was extracted. The object is unreal; it is from the realm of the imaginary. Its level of functionality is variable. In the abstract art polyvalence would reach its highest level of fiction.

While situated in the field of a given art, we shall interpret the representation of the artistic object in question – for example a text presenting an image. The literary text, in the end, will always be text, no matter how much we interpret it as melody or painting. Although on the contrary, if we interpret it in a symbolic way, i.е. in a biblical way, and if we refer to the text of Saint Paul about the Only Spirit – the Holy Spirit, applicable to any gift and to the relationship between gifts, we could give a biblical interpretation to the triangle of Peirce. This is how the points of view of science and the Bible meet, the semiotic and the symbolic, which are one whole. What actually occupies us in this study is the invisible aspect of the question, the immaterial, the form, which are in the foundation of everything. This biblical optic enables us to enlarge the frame of interpretation, from the point of view of pure form, and to include any science, which is mutually replaceable by form and subject with the ones of the other art, with what the first art has entered into relation.



Cassirer – The Divine and the Symbolic Form


Speech is rendering meaning through notions. Owing to it people have the opportunity the understand each other, it is the core of all intellectual realities of man. Intuition, thanks to which we perceive the world in different ways, is caused by the creative mindset. The immediate contact with reality is recreated through art, and not through speech. The Supersensitive, the Divine in art is one of the forms of the boundless Spirit. Art communicates the idea of sensitivity. This is one of the reasons why we may claim that each great piece of work is untranslatable and could never have an equivalent, therefore interpretation invites creation. What is more, according to Cassirer, each piece of work of this scale gives a different interpretation of nature, regardless of the art to which it belongs. The poetic and lyrical in language are qualities, which normal speech does not have. The vision of reality is dynamic. It prompts us to creation, to express the emotional, to the sublime. Intuition and individuality in art are its inherent aspects. Poetical speech is incompatible with normal speech as far as art is concerned. The poet creates her/his work similar to the sculptor who shapes the stone every time in an original and exquisite way: “The works of every great poet in a sense may be compared to the creation of the alchemist who is trying to find the philosopher’s stone. … the poet must convert the ordinary metal of the everyday language into the gold of poetry… This becomes possible only with the help of the special gift the poet has to transform the abstract and ordinary words of everyday language into the recesses of her poetic imagination and to spurt them out, giving them a new shape … Art does not deceive is with the help of a conventional fabrication of words and images. It enthralls us, introducing us to its own world, the world of pure forms. Such is the real power that we find in each great genius of art.”  Footnote

When Cassirer deepens his study of the work of art in “Speech and Art II,” he poses the problem of the ultimate Creation of the World, which Peirce also examines. This is an issue of extreme importance due to its fundamental genesis and creative activity. He transfers the idea of the open work of Divine creation (the creation of the world), which is forever unfinished, on the work of art. According to Peirce Footnote , God is the one who creates the World and the World itself is in a constant process of development.

The work of art is incomplete, even when finished. It remains open, because it preserves its symbolic foundation, which gives rise to successive interpretations and creative sequences, lead by Divine inspiration. Cassirer expounds the idea of the constant effort, which the human spirit devotes. He describes this movement as stages of purposefulness. Each subsequent step leads to the idea of development, of the glory of spirit.

Human culture is the realization of this progressive objectifying of human experience. Wit the help of reason (logos in Greek) we organize this human experience, which is reproduced owing to speech and art. The reflective behavior towards reality is expressed by the words of soul. The process of reasoning, “ … includes the constant use of mythical or religious, speech, art, or scientific symbols.” Footnote With the help of mythical thought man initially comes close to nature. He starts to differentiate between scientific and poetic language. The latter “ imaginary, … metaphoric speech seems to be tightly linked to the fundamental function of mythical thought.” Footnote Speech, in principle, is the essence of all intellectual and intuitive activities, but it is not the only one : “ Actually there is another symbolic world, beyond speech, beyond the speech symbols. This world is the world of art– of music and poetry, of painting, of sculpture or architecture. Speech allows us for the first time to get in touch with the world of notions.” Footnote Despite, “ During the primitive eras of human culture, this poetic and metaphoric characteristic of speech seems to have advantage over its logical, “ discourse” characteristic– poetry is the primary language of humanity …” Footnote What is even more typical and common between speech and art (we include also poetic speech), is that they do not reproduce reality in a mimicking way. Speech and art are forms by nature. Solely speech leads to the abstract and to summary, to the creation of notions, which in its turn leads to the creation of scientific speech; while art is pure intuition, the exact opposite of it (including poetic speech). Cassirer makes classification of the sensitive perceptions and presents individual intuition: “ With art we do not frame the world notionally, we present it through senses ... Art is not a reproduction of impressions; it is the creation of forms. These forms are not abstract, but sensitive.” Footnote The artist watches, and the creation, born owing to aesthetic observation, is a new, decisive stage of the general objectifying process. Cassirer refers to the thought of Kant :…” beauty is what we like in pure observation.”… “ The realm of art is a realm of pure form”. Footnote This is so, because the symbolic area most closely approximates pure form, the signifier, which is in the core of the work due to the abundance of Spirit, modeling the work. In a fit of antistructuralism, Cassirer claims “ We may say in a sense that art is speech, but speech in a very specific sense. This is not a speech of word symbols, but of intuitive symbols. The one who doesn’t understand these intuitive symbols, who cannot feel the life of colors, of figures, forms and space motives, harmony and melody, remains outside the work of art– and in this sense she/he is not only deprived of aesthetic pleasure, but loses access to one of the most profound aspects of reality.” Footnote



Biblical origin


The most powerful point when the symbolic, biblical and semiotic meet, is the point when Cassirer explains the connection of art with myth – its origin. Therefore art always remains linked to the power of the mythical and religious thought: “ Only with great artists – Dante and Milton, in Messa by Bach or the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo – do we feel this power in its full strength. The most prominent modern creators still feel this drawing force of the mythical world, captured by despair for paradise lost.” Footnote Cassirer believes that myth and art live in a world of their own, and not in the physical world. The spiritual world wraps around them. To use a maxim, if myth objectifies the imaginary, then art is an intuitive process of contemplation, language and science recreate the world conceptually. According to Cassirer art establishes a balance between powerful imagination, which is prevalent in myth and the more and more abstract conceptualization of scientific language. These opposing trends reach equilibrium in art. The genius [spirit], according to Kant’s definition, which Cassirer formulates, “ … is the one that achieves full harmony and equilibrium of all faculties of the spirit.” Footnote The essence of genius is such that it does not need scientific instruction, but we may derive ideas from its works, which find scientific explanation and correspond to notions, so that we can transfer them to others. Cassirer’s mind goes even further– he comments on the reasoning of Goethe about the invisible presence of God, which we support, with regards to art:  “ The real thing, or what matches it, the Divine, cannot be sensed directly: we feel it circuitously, through an example, symbol, on the secondary level this is an individual phenomenon.” Footnote A thesis, which one more time proves that the Divine is at the source. It is the foundation and it expresses the artistic in a spiritual and pure form, which may be communicated through the content.



Distinctive features of the artistic symbolic form


The symbolic form consists of energy of spirit carrying meaning, since it is related to a sign, to which spiritual meaning belongs. Art possesses a specific spiritual energy, and hence it represents a peculiar rung of human knowledge. We shall provide the following argument: the symbolic form is perceived from a phenomenological point of view. Cassirer claims that each position of a part (of consciousness) contains a position of the whole. Since symbolic forms are divided into several wholes, they are based on a unifying center of the signifier, which includes them in a whole. Consciousness as something experienced, acquires the image of a relationships structure, i. е. one related to the structure of consciousness as a whole. Thus the different symbols emerge as a relation, but each one has its own specifics. They are situated in time and space, and at the point of intersection of the latter two. Each relationship structure, such as is the symbol linked to a given content, is part of the global transcendental structure adopted in the space-time interference with interartistic nature, i.е. timeless, where time and space have no bounds, but for a single second a whole eternity may be experienced with interartistic relationships. As a whole they are different by type from the intermedial, but are defined in the space-time context. In this case the Self is the starting point, which conscience concentrates into a special focus to define the particular interpretation. The global as spiritual energy combines the process of configurations in art, therefore inside in the symbolic form itself. Therefore we may talk about interartistic phenomenon, modeled by different relations abundant in many respects but still remaining concentrated in a single fundamental center– the signifier, regardless of their configurations. Symbol is a relation, therefore the interartistic phenomenon is a symbol expressed on energy level.

The proximity or line of succession in the ideas of Kant, Peirce and Cassirer, intimated by Wildgren Footnote , explains the symbolic form under the prism of Peirce’s semiotics of the interpreter and the boundless semiosis. The symbolic, biblical, scientific and semiotic interferences pursue one and the same center from various points of view.

Under a single polyvalent point of view we may examine one and the same phenomenon interpreting the relation of arts in particular. Our opinion runs alongside Wildgren’s and may be further elaborated more precisely in the area of art. We are talking about confronting perception that consciousness carries out at a given moment against a certain topos with regards to the creative object, which leads to the emergence of a particular symbolic form.

The phenomenon, which consciousness analyses during the interartistic perception, is transformed each time when a new observer or listener rests their eyes on a painting or text, hears the music and imagines the images in their consciousness. This is so since the symbolic form that materializes, like the interpreter of Peirce, preserves its nature of spiritual energy, spilling over in all directions, but on the other hand giving to each new perception of the painting a different interpretation, changing the configuration of context in the imagination of the receiver, i.e. always produces a different effect. Thus it becomes the embryo of a new creation.



The artistic space and time


Cassirer poses the problem about space in art as a whole and its connection to spatiality with an art and a work of art taken separately. He examines this type of connection once again with regards to the part of the whole, in order to draw the same conclusion. Intuition is put in the foreground and therefore the combination of colors and geometric stylization give rise to the idea of contrast of the painting space and thence aesthetic as compared to the scientific (cf. “Mythical space, aesthetic space and theoretical space”). It guides the creator during the depiction in painting or literature, or in music, at the time of placing the space-time frame, the contrasting and sequence of events, in interdependence, regardless of whether the image is figurative or abstract. Therefore art possesses the property to model, due to its intuitive nature. When the creator produces its work, we may talk about intuitive objectifying. Because intuition directs creative activity. The space-time movement, which is sketched little by little and constructed in the scope of a cathedral, or sounded through singing, obeys the intuitive modus, which prevails and owing to which works are pieced together. Strange is the feeling of when we look at the work piece and see it in its pure intuitive forms. The contemplation of Kant, the catharsis of Aristotle, all are definitions and illustrations of the feeling and sense released during the artistic excitement that forces us towards spiritual realms, “Beyond the oblivion” Footnote of the daily routine. In that instance the normal time and space lose their contours until recreated as new ones, but less clear-cut and more blurred, supernatural. The spiritual eternity where in that instance they meet, leads to the Divine creation. This is the rationale that causes Cassirer to explain that ordinary time and space, and the objects, are not symbolic forms. The symbolic form has the function to unite in its capacity as a founding existence, related to the origin of things, the creative spark and the perception of the work. The division into various symbolic forms is preceded by a pre-existing phase, which summarizes at a higher level this miscellaneous multitude of fields.



The pure form


Cassirer believes that art, like speech, must walk the way towards imitation of the pure symbol. Art leads to the realm of pure form. Symbolism is elevated to pure meaning. Leonardo Footnote in his “Treatise on the Art of Painting” believes that art must struggle for the perfection of nature, thus reaching pure symbolism: “ The Divine nature of painting makes the spirit of the artist transform into the image of the Holy Spirit, because it freely succumbs to the creation of different spaces.” Footnote Therefore the desire of Cassirer is to build in depth the symbolic system that Leonardo reproduces into creative synthesis, and recreates into an emblem the overall expounding of the issue so far. This idea, fully expressing the antimimetic, significant in art, is imposed by Kant when he compares art and nature. It is rather the birth of a new form of creation that acquires significance: “ Nature was beautiful when it looked like art at the same time; while art may be called exquisite only if we have the consciousness that it is art, and it still looks to us like nature.” Footnote Cassirer searches to globalize the idea of the spiritual in order to reach the essence of scientific knowledge. The more figurative art departs from the image, the more abstract art on the other hand approaches the pure form of art. The connection between reality and art becomes closer and closer since pure form unites them. They do not cease to evolve in a constant movement. Therefore the mutual complementing between the symbolic forms is due more precisely to the pure characteristic of form.



Divine Love and Gifts


Nicole Everert – Desmedt refers to Anderson’s research (1987), studying the comparison between science and God with respect to art. She compares the stages between scientific proof and the creation of the work– a link, which constantly arouses interest nowadays. Everert – Desmedt examines more precisely three stages corresponding to the primary, the secondary and the tertiary, which characterize the birth of a given creation. The primary exists in vagueness, in chaos, and this reminds of the creative experience of the creator, mentally carries us to the boundless regions of God. The secondary reaches perfection. While with the tertiary the end is never reached, it always remains open, because creation requires succession. Even till now God has not revealed Himself in full, likewise the creation may always be complemented. We arrive to the bond of first importance: God hands over to the creator with love His gift to create and participate in the evolvement of the Universal Spirit. Therefore each work of art, through its perception, gives rise to another, which is handed over with love and increases knowledge. Close to the verse about gifts of Apostle Paul and in unison with it is the verse about love; they are even bound in art. The verses about love Footnote follow the revelation about gifts. Eco is sensitive to the charm of the indescribable of each creature, to which God with love inspires gift to use to make the world better as it has to be. He sees the inseparable bond between Divine love and the gift we are bestowed. Just like in the Gospel of Apostle St. Paul, they are next to each other in unison, which is not arbitrary: “The eternal prototypes, the everlasting reasons for all that exists, the creation of Speech, all surviving by the breath of Love, sow blessings in the darkness of the primary chaos with the help of their creative gifts” Footnote

It is precisely the concentrating over particular time-space relations of the intuitive cognition within any work of art that gives birth to the interartistic phenomenon which, depending on the interpretation, initiates the creation of a new piece whose nature is interartistic. Every single art in a unique way enters into dialogue with the rest of arts, because each art by itself is unique.

The interartistic phenomenon may be applied to any work of art, which touches several arts. The total structure, which combines all arts, this absent structure, which is hunted along the border between the signs, can be found in each work of art. It is the component, which gives a complete, unique sparkle to the creation.




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© 2008, Applied Semiotics / Sémiotique appliquée