Multiple Identities of Borderline Cases in Art


  • Jean Lin



Borderline of Art, Ikebana, Molecular Gastronomy, Non-Western Art, Applied Art, Artistic Identity


When the borderline cases of art occur in non-art categories, the debate of artistic status arises not only with regard to the individual cases but also with regard to the category to which they belong. The identity of the individual case tends to be defined in connection to the category it belongs to. It tends to formulate that, if the individual case is art, then the entire category is also art, and if the category is not art, then the individual case is also not art. Such a view inevitably hampers the artistic status of works arising from the non-art categories. This article argues that the individual cases and their belonging categories need not be strictly interlocking and that they could possess multiple identities depending on the context that they are present. Thus the point shifts from whether the case is or is not art in its absolute sense to ‘when’ is it art.

Author Biography

Jean Lin

Jean Lin is a PhD student at the University of Tokyo, majoring in Aesthetics. Her fields of interest include cultural appropriation, category of art, the borderline of art and non-art, and appreciation of artworks in a transcultural context. She has recently written, “On Appreciating Artworks Involving Cultural Properties,” Aesthetics 24 (2021): 89-100.


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How to Cite

Lin, J. (2023). Multiple Identities of Borderline Cases in Art. The Nordic Journal of Aesthetics, 32(65).