Nicholas Stronczyk

‘Thinking in Form and (In)formed Thought’: an Exploration of Aesthetic Strategies and Methodologies in New Art Practices, with Special Reference to Joseph Beuys’ ‘Expanded conception of Art’ 

The aim of this practice-based research has been to explore and develop new aesthetic methodologies for social engagement through a series of social sculpture actions/interventions informed by:

Joseph Beuys’ ‘expanded conception of art’

Matthias Bunge’s work on ‘aesthetic thought’

Hannah Arendt’s differentiation between work, labour and action

Karl Jaspers’ understanding of philosophy and of wonderment.


My own understanding of art as well as my understanding of a different sustainable world were at the start of this research relatively undefined visions. Only by a careful engagement with the above mentioned did these ideals acquire a set of parameters that were then further researched.

Not only texts, theories and practical work influence the visual thinking and the theory of an artist, but also everyday experience affected by conversations, media etc.

All the theoretical work led to thoughts and ideas which were followed by a practical investigation and realization. This experience in turn affected the original theory, extended it and gave rise to new thoughts. This process repeated itself and thus, theory and practice were continuously being changed and extended.


The outcomes of this practice-based research can be summarised as follows:

– the development of a practice informed by ‘social sculpture’ processes that engages with questions about the integration of art and life through embodied means

– a method of working which allows one to engage with theories and ideas through practice

– an understanding that true individuality is deeply rooted in society, and of the relationship between such individuality, responsibility and the expanded conception of art

– new insights into the field of social sculpture through explorations that link core ideas of philosophers Hannah Arendt and Karl Jaspers with the artist, Joseph Beuys and his ‘expanded conception of art’.


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