jueves, 17 de junio de 2010

Kitsch and Tendentious Art (H. Broch)

"The essence of kitsch is the confusion of ethical and esthetic categories; kitsch wants to produce not the "good" but the "beautiful". And if this means that the kitsch novel, even while often using quite naturalistic language, i.e., the vocabulary of reality, describes the world not as it really is but as it is hoped and feared to be, and if quite analogous tendencies turn up in the fine arts as well, if kitsch in music depends exclusively on effect - one need only think of the so-called bourgeois salon music, remembering that in many respects the music industry of today is its overbred offspring - still one must concede that no art can work without some effect, without a smattering of kitsch. In the dramatic arts, kitsch becomes a structural bourgeois one, namely, opera, in which effect is the principal structuring element; and one should not forget that opera by its very nature is distinctly "historical", and that that relationship between artwork and public where the "effect" is actually revealed is a matter of the empirical, the earthbound. The means employed for effect are always "proven", and they can hardly be increased any more that the number of possible dramatic situations could be increased: that which is past and proven appears over and over again in kitsch; in other words (a troll through any art exhibit will confirm this), kitsch is always subject to the dogmatic influence of the past - it will never take its vocabulary of reality from the world directly but will apply pre-used vocabularies, which in its hands rigidify into cliché, and here is the nolitio, the rejecting of goodwill, the turning away from the divine cosmic creation of values." (pp 32,33)

Broch, Hermann. "Kitsch and Tendentious Art (1955). In: Geist and Zeitgeist. The Spirit in an Unspiritual Age, Hermann Broch, 31-39. New York: Counterpoint, 2002.

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