Heidegger and the finitude of the work of art
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Heidegger’s The Origin of the Work of Art reevaluates how artworks are meaningful by offering a phenomenological description of the work of art as an historically situated event. This ontological interpretation of art not only rehabilitates our sense of the materiality and singularity of the artwork but it also enables us to think the conditions of the creation and genuine preservation of artworks. In this paper I develop the concept of ruination and argue that ruination is the essence of the artwork. My interpretation emphasizes Heidegger’s insistence on the finitude of the artwork and reveals that Heidegger’s example of the ruin of the ancient temple is exemplary precisely because the ruination of the artwork is an essential characteristic of its happening rather than something that befalls it from outside.
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