What is art?

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Some of the definitions of art which are available in literature classify art in language, but it is clear that this explanation is still debated.

What we know :
The appearance of the first forms of articulated languages (the one that gave us our current languages) is contemporary with Homo Habilis, (between 350,000 and 150,000 years ago).  This progressive evolution  led to the development of the essential characteristics of humanity (in particular thought, reflected consciousness).

Around 40,000 years before our era, aesthetic forms appeared  revealing the earliest forms of art  in the shape of  the first figurative representations.  The first artistic productions  which we can trace are much more recent (around 100,000 years before our era (in the caves of Borneo) and 40,000 years ago (Chauvet cave).

At the outset, these two forms were closely linked  (therefore articulate language and art are peculiar to man).  Today the important evolutions of these two human activities have made them differentiate themselves to the point of being totally distinct and suggesting to Immanuel Kant the formula "the beautiful is without concept"
The history of art, which divides the development of this activity into successive slices and incorporates conceptual art, is therefore surprising.

On the other hand, if today almost every human group has its own or particular articulated language requiring translations in order to be understood, art does not need that.  We do not translate the Venus de Milo or the Mona Lisa. Art is universal even if it takes different forms or paths.  It will only ever be a universal language.

Gilles Baconnier


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