Source of "Phenomenology of Art" is

title:Phenomenology of Perception
by M.Merleau-Ponty
translated from the French by Colin Smith

ISBN 0415-04556-8

It is less a question of counting
up quotations than of determining and expressing in concrete form
this phenomenology for ourselves which has given a number of present-
day readers the impression, on reading Husserl or Heidegger, not so
much of encountering a new philosophy as of recognizing what they
had been waiting for. Phenomenology is accessible only through a
phenomenological method. Let us, therefore, try systematically to
bring together the celebrated phenomenological themes as they have
grown spontaneously together in life. Perhaps we shall then under-
stand why phenomenology has for so long remained at an initial stage,
as a problem to be solved and a hope to be realized.

The world and reason are not problematical. We
may say, if we wish, that they are mysterious, but their mystery de-
fines them:there can be no question of dispelling it by some 'solution',
it is on the hither side of all solutions. True philosophy consists in re-
learning to look at the world, and in this sense a historical account
can give meaning to the world quite as 'deeply' as a philosophical
treatise. We take our fate in our hands, we become responsible for
our history through reflection, but equally by a decision on which we
stake our life, and in both cases what is involved is a violent act which
is validated by being performed.

lectualism is unequal to dealing with this perceptual life, either falling
short of it overshooting it; it calls up as limiting cases the manifold
qualities which are merely the outer casing of the object, and from
there it passes on to a consciousness of the object which claims to
hold within itself the law or secret of that object, and which for this
reason deprives the development of the experience of its contingency
and the object of its distinctive perceptual style. This move from
thesis to antithesis, this flying from one extreme to the other which
is the regular procedure of intellectualism leaves the starting-point of
analysis unaffected.

the 'inspection of the mind' would then be, not the concept gravitating
towards nature, but nature rising to the concept.

It is dis-
tinguishable from the cry, because the cry makes use of the body as
nature gave it to us: poor in expressive means; whereas the poem
uses language, and even a particular language, in such a way that the
existential modulation, instead of being dissipated at the very instant
of its expression, finds in poetic art a means of making itself eternal.
But although it is independent of the gesture which is inseparable
from living expression, the poem is not independent of every material
aid, and it would be irrecoverabley lost if its text were not preserved
down to the last detail. Its meaning is not arbitrary and does not
dwell in the firmament of ideas: it is locked in the worlds printed on
some perishable page. In that sense, like every work of art, the poem
exists as a thing and does not eternally survive as does a truth. As for
the novel, although its plot can be summarized and the 'thought' of
the writer lends itself to abstract expression, this conceptual signifi-
cance is extracted from a wider one, as the description of a person is
extracted from the actual appearance of his face.

A novel, poem, picture or musical work are
individuals, that is, beings in which the expression is indistinguish-
able from the thing expressed, their meaning, accessible only through
direct contact, being radiated with no change of their temporal and
spatial situation.