ANTAGONIST OF A PRIMITIVE #1

Schermata 2017-05-17 alle 07.43.20

The above picture is from one of my diaries, the below paper is an extract from one of the semester papers  I write for my PhD.

 

Whoever produces kitsch . . . is not to be evaluated by aesthetic measures but is ethically depraved; he is a criminal who wills radical evil.

Hermann Broch, Evil in the Value System of Art

Simultaneously to the space-age aesthetics there is another phenomenon which can be deduced as an esthetic value that has been also sanctified in the art temple and it is the strongest link between contemporary and modern: kitsch.
Kitsch is a product of the industrial revolution which urbanized the masses of Western Europe and America and established what is called universal literacy… Kitsch is mechanical and operates by formulas. Kitsch is vicarious experience and faked sensations. Kitsch changes according to style, but remains always the same. Kitsch is the epitome of all that is spurious in the life of our times. Kitsch pretends to demand nothing of its customers except their money, not even their time.*

The precondition for kitsch, a condition without which kitsch would be impossible, is the availability close at hand of a fully matured cultural tradition, whose discoveries, acquisitions, and perfected self-consciousness kitsch can take advantage of for its own ends.** Basing our comprehension of the definition of Greenberg we see kitsch as an esthetic evaluation, which of course can’t be applied to the entire contemporary art scene, but is, to say it with Benjamin words “the last mask of the banal, the one with witch we adorn our self***, its the impressive esthetic formula of our time which defines the current taste and the future choices.

*,**Clement Greenberg, Vanguard and Kitsch, Boston, Beacon Press, 1989. First published in 1939

 

***Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the age of its technological reproducibility, and other writings on media p.238