There are of course many forms of representation; art forms a single, highly visible example. In the wildest sense, representations are those artificial (though seemingly immutable) constructions through which we apprehend the world: conceptual representations such as images, languages, definitions; which include and construct more social representations such as race and gender. Although such constructions often depend on a material form in the real world, representations constantly are posted as natural “facts” and their misleading plentitude obscures our apprehension of reality. Our access to reality is mediated by a gauze of representation.
Brian Wallis, from Art after Modernism: Rethinking Representation (1984)