Figural: Aesthetic Aphorisms Today


Figural uniquely offers a platform for scholars and workers of the humanities and the arts as well as the social and natural sciences to publish sayings and apophthegms that express aesthetic concerns or relate to aesthetic issues. The word “aesthetic” is not here restricted to some vague idea of beauty or formal matters; rather, the aesthetic refers to the experience of meaning (as in Hans-Georg Gadamer’s interpretation) at the crossroads of culture and sense perception (as implied in the ancient Greek etymology of the word – aisthesis). Our conception of the aesthetic goes therefore beyond the narrowing field defined by 18th century Europe. 

Of course, the appearance and style of aphorisms, or any writing for that matter, are essential but only inasmuch as form and content become indistinguishable. What we care about is the Way that goes beyond skill, as Chuang Tzu would have it. We are interested in aesthetic aphorisms that find thoughtful ways to express perceptual experiences of the reality of this world and to renew such a reality through creative imagination.

The publication series does not aim at providing theoretical explanatory models or narratives of any kind; instead, we seek to publish aphorisms that are neither abstract nor figurative, but “figural,” as Gilles Deleuze defined the word when referring to painting in his Francis Bacon (1981) – aphorisms that are thought, written, and hopefully read as such. 

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