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date: 29 May 2024


A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art

Ian Chilvers,

John Glaves-Smith

A term used in the discussion of the arts to describe an approach in which the means of representation are regarded as of greater significance than what is represented. In the visual arts it is especially applied to the belief that the formal qualities of a work—such as line, shape, and colour—are self-sufficient for its appreciation, and all other considerations—such as representational, ethical, or social aspects—are treated as secondary or redundant. The idea that formal qualities can have value independent of representational function was essential to the development of ... ...

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