Revisiting Gadamer's Conception of Works of Art


  • Man Chun Szeto Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté



Hans-Georg Gadamer, aesthetic, ontology of art, hermeneutics, play, video games, Asian art


In contrast to Kant's aesthetic, Gadamer proposes a fundamentally different way of understanding our experiences of art. One that is not restricted by the dichotomy between subjectivity and objectivity: A work of art is not simply an object created by an artist, but a "world" in which all the "players" participate. This conception of art is inspired by the performing arts; but how much is it relevant to other forms of art? Gadamer never explored this question fully. It is of interest, therefore, to expand the analysis of Gadamer on two fronts: first, new forms of art such as installations and video games; second, artistic practices in East Asia, notably, the Japanese art of kintsugi and Chinese art of seals (zhāng). The analysis of these forms of art not only helps broaden the scope of Gadamer's theory, but shows also that the insights found in his works are more relevant than ever.


Download data is not yet available.


Antonelli, Paola. Video Games: 14 in the Collection, for Starters. 29 November 2012. 10 July 2020. .

Audureau, William. "Françoise Nyssen : 'Le jeu vidéo est un vrai élément de notre culture en France'." Le Monde 7 July 2017.

Avril, Ellen. "The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics". 28 June 2008. 12 July 2020. .

Ebert, Roger. "Critics vs. gamers on 'Doom'". 30 October 2005. 10 July 2020. .

Ebert, Roger. "Video games can never be art." 16 April 2010. 10 July 2020. .

Ebert, Roger. Why did the chicken cross the genders? 27 November 2005. 10 July 2020. .

Gadamer, Hans-Georg. "Aesthetics and Hermeneutics," in idem. The Gadamer Reader. Edited by Richard E Palmer. Trans. David E Linge. Evanston: Northestern University Press, 2007. 123-131.

Gadamer, Hans-Georg. "Text and Interpretation," in Diane P. Michelfelder and Richard E. Palmer (ed.). Dialogue and Deconstruction. The Gadamer-Derrida Encounter, trans. Dennis J. Schmidt and Richard E. Palmer. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989. 21-51.

Gadamer, Hans-Georg. "The Artwork in Word and Image: 'So True, So Full of Being!'" in idem. The Gadamer Reader, ed. And trans. Richard E. Palmer. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2007. 192-224.

Gadamer, Hans-Georg. Truth and Method, trans. Joel Weinsheimer and Donald G Marshall. London: Continuum, 1989.

Gens, Jean-Claude and Marc-Antoine Vallée. Gadamer : art, poétique et ontologie. Paris: Éditions Mimésis, 2016.

Gens, Jean-Claude. "L'invitation gadamérienne à résorber l'esthétique dans l'herméneutique," Études Germaniques 246 (2007): 279-290.

Goodman, Nelson. Languages of Art: An Approach to a Theory of Symbols. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1968.

Goodman, Nelson. Of Mind & Other Matters. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984.

Goodman, Nelson. Ways of World Making. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1978.

Grondin, Jean. Introduction to Philosophical Hermeneutics. Trans. Joel Weinsheimer. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994.

Grondin, Jean. "L'art comme présentation chez Gadamer," in Gens, Jean-Claude and Marc-Antoine Vallée (ed.). Gadamer : art, poétique et ontologie. Paris: Éditions Mimésis, 2016. 45-61.

Kabakov, Ilya, Margarita Tupitsyn and Victor Tupitsyn. "About Installation." Art Journal 58.4 (Win-ter 1999): 62-73.

Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Judgment. Trans. Werner Pluhar. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1987.

Michael, Fried. "Art and Objecthood." Artforum 5.10 (Summer 1967): 12-21.

Plato. The Republic. Trans. Paul Shorey. New York: G. P. Putnam's Son, 1930.

Santini, Céline. Kintsugi: Finding Strength in Imperfection. Kanas City: Andrew McMeel Publishing, 2019.

Tam, Mei-yee, et al. "Lost Treasures of the Shiqu Baoji in Hong Kong: Selection of the Works from the Xubaizhai Collection." Zubaizhai Collection of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy Edu-cation Pamphlet, vol. 21. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Museum of Art, 2016.

Tang, Hoi-Chiu, et al. "Authenticating and Collecting Chinese Painting and Calligraphy." Zubaizhai Collection of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy Education Pamphlet, vol.15. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Museum of Art, 2007.




How to Cite

Szeto, M. C. . (2021). Revisiting Gadamer’s Conception of Works of Art. Labyrinth, 23(1), 140–165.