The Perfect Spectator
The Experience of the Art Work and Reception Aesthetics
by Janneke Wesseling
Published by Valiz, Book and Culture Projects
Design: Sam de Groot
What happens between a spectator and an art work? How do we experience ‘meaning’ in an art work? How can the process of interpretation be understood and articulated?
To address these questions, the author explores the field of reception aesthetics, with its central premise that the contemplation of art is a matter of interaction between the art work and the observer. The research is focused on unravelling and problematising the theoretical terminology of the interaction between art work and spectator, deriving from reception aesthetics as well as from hermeneutics and phenomenology, with the aim of building a new theoretical foundation for this terminology. Additionally, different concepts of spectatorship are extensively discussed.
'I believe it is more productive to research how the art work works or signifies than what it shows or might signify. This 'how' reveals itself mainly in the performative act of experiencing the work.'
This book addresses scholars and students in the fields of art history, aesthetics and visual and cultural studies, as well as artists and art students, and all those art spectators who wish to develop a deeper understanding of the experience of art.
Dutch e-book, February 2015.
Later in 2015 available as English paperback book.