Sunday, 13 June 2010

Kitsch (A. Moles)

"Universal concept, familiar, important [the word Kitsch] corresponds, firstly, to the epoch of the aesthetic genesis, to a style of absence of style, to a function of comfort, superposed to the traditional functions, to a "nothing is too much" of progress.

The word Kitsch appears, in its modern conception, in Munich circa 1869; it is a well-known word from southern German: kitschen, to make new furniture out of old one; it is a familiar expression; verkitschen means to sell something in the place of that one specifically asked for: it implies aesthetic thought, and a denial of the authentic. Kitsch is trash, is an artistic secretion conceived by prizing the products of a society inside its department stores, which, just like the stations, turn into the real temples. Kitsch is linked with art in a dissoluble way, just as non-authentic is linked to authentic. "There is a Kitsch taste in every art", says Broch, since in every art there is a minimum of convention, of acceptance of giving pleasure to the costumer, from which no Master is exempt.

Even though Kitsch is eternal, it has periods of prosperity linked, among other things, to a social situation, to the access to wealth: bad taste is the previous step towards good taste, since it is [...] a desire of aesthetic promotion that does not reach its goal.

The spectrum of aesthetic values is no longer dichotomised between "beauty" and "ugly": between art and conformism extents the vast plague of Kitsch. Kitsch reveals itself with strength during the promotion of bourgeois civilisation, when it gets the possibility of access to wealth, of excess of means in relation with its needs, [...] and from a certain moment in which this bourgeois class imposes its rules to an artistic production.

Kitsch is then a universal social phenomenon, permanent, grand, but also a latent phenomenon to the concious of Latin tongues, at a loss of an accurate word to define it.

It is not a semantic and explicit phenomenon, it is an intuitive and subtle phenomenon; it is a type of relationship between being and things, a way of being more than an object or even a style. Even though we will frequently talk about "Kitsch style", it will be referring to a supportive idea of Kitsch attitude, and we will see that this style will formalise inside an artistic epoch. It will become a category that will allow it to access anthologies and even art collections. However, Kitsch precedes and surpasses its supports, it is a state of the spirit that, eventually, crystallises in objects."

Moles, Abraham A.: Le Kitsch. L’art du bonheur (pp 5 -7). Paris, Maison Mame. 1971.

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