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Calligraphy and Klee’s Abstract Painting: A Study on Categorical Ambiguity

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This study analyses the categorical ambiguity between visual appearances that belong in different categories, such as Oriental Calligraphy and certain Abstract Paintings selected from the works of Klee. In particular, the aim of our research was to identify whether there exist abstract features at the basis of purely visual configurations that determine the way in which they are categorized. Specifically, the intention was to determine whether, and to what extent, two artistic forms that display documented shared graphic and conceptual characteristics differ, or do not differ, visually, and whether certain features exist that identify them as a specific type of graphic work. The assumption that both categories had shared characteristics that made them graphically and conceptually similar and that resulted in categorical ambiguity, was confirmed. Moreover, the presence of some constituent features specific to one or the other was also confirmed. The results show that a Calligraphic Image and an Abstract Painting by Klee can be ‘exchanged’, but the tendency to confuse Calligraphy with an Abstract Painting is greater than that of confusing an Abstract Painting with Calligraphy.

Affiliations: 1: 2Department of Humanities, University of Trento, Italy ; 2: 1CIMeC (Centre for Mind/Brain Sciences), University of Trento, Rovereto, Italy ; 3: 3Department of Psychology and Cognitive Sciences, University of Trento, Italy

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