Art is composed of form and material, without a specific purpose or use. “The nature of art would then be this: the truth of being setting itself to work.” Heidegger wrote.
In his vision, the work of art reveals part of the truth of an entity, or the ‘being’ of that entity. Art reveals and enshrouds at the same time, so its revealing is always partial. For that reason we will never stop interpreting: we have to guess or speculate about the truth of the hidden part. Heidegger used a Van Gogh painting of a pair of peasant shoes as an illustration. Shoes are entities, that we associate with walking, and that are so common that we never will reflect on them. The painting however uncovers the ‘truth’ of the shoes, its ‘being’, that is, characteristics like utility, reliability and helpfulness.
The artist will in a personal way visualise and interpret the ‘being’ of an entity or event. Every personal interpretation reveals a different world.
What is the truth of our own being? Many of us have lost our own authentic individual being, in order to be part of the mainstream collective and contextual being. There is little originality, authenticity, as we are trained, incentivised, conditioned to conform our behaviour to societal norms.
Heidegger minimizes the role of the artist. rejects the idea of an autonomous individual artist. The artist is always part of a wider context. Besides, there is no artist without art. In his view, art comes first, and then comes the artist. Art is already there, it is a hidden power, unveiling itself through the artist. In other words, thanks to art, an individual may become artist. In performances art and artist merge. The artist researches the material, and in this way a work of art gets born. All kind of coincidental contextual conditions determine the birth of a work of art. So the artist is not the only factor, he/she is a co-creator. The artist facilitates the conditions needed for the birth of a work of art.