Sunday, 20 November 2011

From melodrama to kitsch (M. Mazzocut-Mis)

If, synthesizing, you try to line up the features that make a piece of literature, theatre, or cinema kitsch you come close to superimpose the kitsch to the melodramatic. Among the first features, universally recognized in kitsch, there are accumulation, repetition, synaesthesia, lyricism, which, if not make a work of art kitsch itself, can be used to call it melodramatic.

e. m. crawford @ flickr
It would seem then that kitsch embodies only a pejorative highlighting of melodramatic and that it is nurtured from it. The problem is not solved so simply. A distinction based only in degrees and not contents does not justify the emergence of a new category. The problem arises because the category of melodramatic as that of kitsch, is a "crossing" category. Melodramatic and kitsch need for an investigation, not through uniform literary genres, but passing all arts. From here there is the possibility for highlighting theoretical nuclei which make out of them two different aesthetic categories, although related.

A characteristic of kitsch, but lest present in melodrama is the light and feeling expression of the desire to escape. In melodrama, the emotions can last up to the breaking point, turning or revolting in the disgusting, although the sweetener moment will come soon to save the viewer. Kitsch is an complacent, projective and heady expression of the present. 

Kitsch does not want to resist the passage of time and embodies one of the most unsettling aspects of contemporary art: the ephemeral, that which evaporates, what you use and throw away, what you see once, if you're there to catch it, otherwise, you know you have lost one of the many enjoyable opportunities that life has in store for you. On the other hand the very ephemeral communication belongs more than ever to our present. It lies on the side of extemporaneous communication, fast, dead when it is consumed, but not because of that does it necessarily belongs to the lowest level. Although it is difficult to define melodrama and kitsch according to a final and stable set of features, it is certain, however, that both are not, as critics wanted them to be up to now, the expression of bad taste. First, because the reduction to bad taste is not simplifying, but confusing. Secondly, because the definition of bad taste has an implicit moral or moralising condemnation.

Mazzocut-Mis, Maddalena (2005) Il gonzo sublime. Dal patetico al kitsch. pp 179-180. Milano: Mimesis.

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