Autopoietic Aesthetics

“Autopoiesis” meaning “creation, production”) refers to a system capable of reproducing and maintaining itself. The term was introduced in 1972 by Chilean biologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela to define the self-maintaining chemistry of living cells. Since then the concept has been also applied to the fields of systems theory and sociology.

Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of art, beauty, and taste, with the creation and appreciation of beauty. It is more scientifically defined as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste. More broadly, scholars in the field define aesthetics as “critical reflection on art, culture and nature.” More specific aesthetic theory, often with practical implications, relating to a particular branch of the arts is divided into areas of aesthetics such as art theory, literary theory, film theory and music theory.

A range of different experiences contributed to the conception of a major new series of large-scale colour works that Model titled Autopoietic Reception. His experiences living in Europe, the proximity to a culture where painting was intimately connected to religion, were a catalyst for a reflection on the different function of art in a more secular world and the ways in which historic paintings are experienced in museums today.