Introduction to Art: Representations, Performances and Interactions
Full course description
The traditional term for the many ways in which artworks represent reality is mimesis. The mimetic talent for imitation and representation has been the subject of admiration, study and debate throughout the history of Western art. The notion of mimesis is employed to describe painting, literature, music, theater, dance, and more; it is still used to characterize the domain of the arts in general.
In engaging with the concept of mimesis, this course focuses on three central themes and approaches. The first part of the course is concerned with representations of reality in nineteenth and early twentieth century literature, painting, and music. The second part deals with modern and contemporary performance art. The academic field of Performance Studies is introduced in an attempt at dealing with the blurring of genres, cultures and conventions that are typical for contemporary art shaped by mass media and processes of globalization. The third and last part of the course discusses sociological perspectives on art as a social practice and a collective activity.
This course, through its emphasis on representations, performances and interactions, constitutes a basis for courses on the arts in all their diversity, as well as courses on culture and cultural studies in general. The course includes a practical, creative exercise on the role of style in representation.
To provide students with an advanced introduction to the visual and performing arts.
To broaden the students’ theoretical understanding of art.
- Auerbach, E. (2003). Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature. Fiftieth-anniversary edition with a new introduction by Edward Said. Princeton University Press, Princeton.
- Gombrich, E. (2000). Art and Illusion. A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation. Princeton University Press, Princeton
- Schechner, R. (2020). Performance Studies: An Introduction. 4th ed. Routledge, London
- Becker, H. S. (1984). Art Worlds. University of California Press, Berkeley.