Art, its understanding, aesthetics – it all belongs to the field of hermeneutical problems. Although, on the other hand, it appears that hermeneutics itself is not a strict, consistent, inductive method, but rather art. The notion of play is of crucial importance in hermeneutical aesthetics, for play always attempts to represent something that would be understood. On the other hand, not having any other goal it happens or is enacted for itself, at the same time representing itself. One of essential features of play is its median character. The subject of play is not players but play itself. Let us take a theatre performance as an example. Performance has its autonomous 18 Nerijus ČEPULIS reality that dwells not in the minds of the director, actors and audience, but among them. Performance has its own enclosed space and its own inner rules of motion. This enclosed space includes the audience; therefore representation as an essential mode of being of play, here is supplemented by the spectating and understanding by the audience. According to Gadamer, only a spectator can fully get involved in the represented play.
Furthermore, understanding or the obligation to find the meaning of the performed play cancels the difference between the actor and the spectator.
The world of play is virtual, but with it originates the meaning. The play means, it has a message. According to Fink, through the unreal world of a play a certain meaning is stated that is “more real” than facts themselves.
In the un-reality of a play the supra-reality is expressed. The play of art seeks to announce the essence. Usually it is held that meaning is understood, grasped only in the process of the discursive thinking, by invoking the notions of idea, i.e., of generality, species, gender, etc; for the particularity as a concrete being participates in the general essence only in an imperfect way: the particularity connects with the ides only through participation, at the same time failing to equal it because of its caducity, temporality. A factual thing is related to essence as an exemplar of species and gender. The language of art and its understanding question this established opinion of the Western tradition by presenting an alternative of symbolic cognition to the eidetic cognition.
Play achieves its finality and becomes art by becoming form. Form is pure ideal shape of play that gained
autonomy from the play of the players. In such a way play can be continually repeated without cancelling the possibility of improvisation. Gadamer here invokes a notion of transmutation (Verwandlung) that helps to stress another aspect of the way art is. First of all it has to be noted that transmutation is not a mere change, for change, as total as it were, always relies on the identity that remains.