1 Alena Smieskova is an associate professor for American literature and culture at the Department of English and American Studies at CPU in Nitra (Slovakia). She has been a Fulbright scholar at the Center for Cultural Studies at UCSC, USA. Her field of interest includes contemporary American visual culture and film with a focus on urban experience and art. At present she is working on a book on the aesthetics of liminal space.
The article discusses Nicolas Winding Refn’s film Only God Forgives (2013), and focuses on questions of artistic representation and reception in relation to such cinematic elements as genre film, style, mise-en-scène, graphic violence and art experience. The arguments for the analyses are supported by John Dewey’s theory of art as experience where he claims that aesthetic experience is essentially infused with emotions that provide for a unifying quality cementing diverse constituent parts of the artwork. The article also takes into consideration Refn’s standpoint on the use of violence in art. While violence is a way of externalizing emotions, as Refn claims, it may not necessarily be the real experience viewers want to entertain; however, through an art experience, which is integral and complete as Dewey asserts, they are able to perceive and detect meanings that were “scattered and weakened in the material of other experiences”.
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