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On Bringing A Work Into Existence

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Chapter Summary

The phrase 'completed work' has a pleasing ambiguity between process and product. When an artist's work is completed a completed work, so it seems, comes into existence. The material is the physical material used (stone, wood) and a completed work appears after a process of carving and shaping and polishing. The sculpture is made out of the physical material. The combination of vehicular and artistic medium allows for a richer understanding of what it is to make a work. There has been considerable debate about constitution and identity, whether, in the familiar example, the statue is identical to the lump of clay that constitutes it. The institutional requirement for work-existence casts doubt on the strongly mentalistic accounts offered by Collingwood and Sartre. Works cannot exist just in the mind or in the imagination.

Keywords: artistic medium; completed work; physical material; sculpture; vehicular medium



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