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Philosophy and Art in Southeast Asia : A Novel Approach to Aesthetics - Melvin Chen

Philosophy and Art in Southeast Asia

A Novel Approach to Aesthetics

By: Melvin Chen

Paperback | 8 August 2024

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Guiding you through the topics that shape aesthetics and the philosophy of art, this introduction explores the truth, meaning, taste, aesthetic merit and judgement, creativity and the possibility of machine art, and morality and the possibility of immoral art. Each chapter offers a wealth of examples from Southeast Asia, including the Nanyang style of painting, the mooi indie genre and its postcolonial legacy, groundbreaking works of poetry and literature, dragon kiln pottery, the art of making ang ku kueh, contemporary conceptual art, the dikir barat and the balitaw.
Selected for their merit, boldness and connection to the Southeast Asian region, these artworks traverse art and craft, visual art and music, perceptual and conceptual art, real-life and hypothetical examples and folk and fine art. As case studies, these artworks allow us to deal with controversies and address central questions including:

- When are artworks considered dangerous?
- Why does Socrates recommend the banishment of the poets?
- What are the problems and challenges posed by forgery?
- How do we resolve ambiguity when interpreting and making sense of works of art?
- Can there be such a thing as immoral art?

A sense of awareness of context and situatedness runs throughout Philosophy and Art in Southeast Asia. The texture, fabric and flavour of each example is woven into a rigorous philosophical analysis of aesthetic and artistic matters.
Making art and aesthetics more relatable, here is a creative and accessible introduction that inspires a love for art and aesthetics. For anyone interested in understanding the cultural underpinnings of aesthetics outside of the traditional canon, it is essential reading.

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