IMAGINATION AND THE PLASTIC ARTS: NEW PERSPECTIVES ON AN OLD RELATIONSHIP
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:This study is devoted to the deconstruction of the myth of imaginative art and vision, with the aim of including the term 'imagination' functionally in discussions about the genesis and perception of artworks, an inclusion that would show greater respect for the hard-won findings about the functioning of the human mind and brain. The traditional presumption of the existence of 'imaginative' art (vision) and the existence of artists, explicitly distinct from other creative works, from 'normal' vision and from unimaginative artists, has been shown to be inconclusive and, as far as interpretation or art criticism is concerned, unhelpful. We have focused instead on several aspects that can be considered more or less specifiable and verifiable manifestations or types of imagination, of particular importance to the plastic arts and the interests of art critics and historians: 1) the mechanism of projective vision/ 'vision as if'; 2) the generation of mental images on the basis of unconscious neural representations in a changed state of consciousness; and 3) propositional 'offline' simulation of possibilities as part of the creative process. This kind of perspective is in keeping with the findings of contemporary research and indicates that imagination, in this sense, can be regarded as a key cognitive function and one of the basic prerequisites or components of the creative act (not just) in the plastic arts.
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