Context and Interference: Influences in the Perception, Aesthetic Experience, and Interpretation of Exhibitions


  • Zoltán Somhegyi Department of Art History, Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary



aesthetic effect; aesthetic evaluation; perception; interference; context of artworks; exhibitions.


In this paper, I investigate questions related to the aesthetic interferences, as well as their implications, in the process of perception and appreciation of artworks and exhibitions. By ‘aesthetic interference’ however I mean something more than just actual visual interference, such as when other elements, pieces of art, or fellow visitors are ‘entering’ in the field of vision and thus obstructing the view while one is trying to focus on an individual piece. Instead of purely this, I also mean something that modifies the effect of the exhibited work of art on a further, aesthetic level too, hence not only as something that physically (optically) impedes sight, but something that interferes with the ‘working’ of the artwork. I survey the question on the level of the singular work, of an entire exhibition, and even the exhibition within the larger ‘frame’ and context of a city. What is important to see is that such interference is not always and not necessarily negative. The perception of and influence from other works, the modes of installation, the particularities of the venue, and the discovering of the broader environment can all bring out new aspects and considerations that point towards new potentials in the pieces, and that perhaps even the artist or the curator had not thought of before.

Author Biography

Zoltán Somhegyi, Department of Art History, Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary

Zoltán Somhegyi is an art historian holding a Ph.D. in aesthetics and a Habilitation (venia legendi) in philosophy and is an Associate Professor of art history at the Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary. As a researcher, he is specialized in 18th and 19th century art and theory, and besides that, his other fields of interest are contemporary fine arts and art criticism. He was the Secretary-General (2016–22), and remains the Website Editor, of the International Association for Aesthetics, a member of the Executive Committee of the International Council for Philosophy and Human Sciences (CIPSH), and a Consultant of Art Market Budapest: International Contemporary Art Fair. His recent books are Reviewing the Past: The Presence of Ruins (London – New York: Rowman & Littlefield International, 2020) and Aesthetics in Dialogue: Applying Philosophy of Art in a Global World (Berlin, Peter Lang, 2020; co-edited with Max Ryynänen).


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How to Cite

Somhegyi, Z. (2023). Context and Interference: Influences in the Perception, Aesthetic Experience, and Interpretation of Exhibitions. AM Journal of Art and Media Studies, (31), 67–81.



Main Topic: The Concept of ‘Influence’ in Art and Aesthetics