Volume 10, Issue 1, Spring 2013
East Asian and Comparative Approaches to the Environment
Expressive Media in the Aesthetics of Watsuji, Nishida, and Merleau-Ponty
In different ways, Watsuji, Nishida, and Merleau-Ponty describe a self that extends beyond the skin through a sort of dialectic of internal/external space of perception and action, which has implications for understanding the relationship between art and nature in artistic creation. Through an exposition of Watsuji’s conception of human being in relation to a climatic milieu, Nishida’s theory of the expressive body as the site of the world’s own self-transformations, and certain claims made by Merleau-Ponty in his essays on painting, this article provides a way of understanding how material media may become expressive when they are taken up by artists.