HERMANN BROCH KITSCH PDF

The Value of Kitsch. Patrizia C. This article examines the discourse on kitsch articulated by Austrian novelists Hermann Broch and Robert Musil between and In particular, I focus on the ways in which the two novelists draw the distinction of value between real and pseudo art or kitsch.

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I leave you with a few ideas from Hermann Broch who, although he is better known for novels like The Death of Virgil and The Sleepwalkers, wrote some very provocative essays about art. The essence of Kitsch consists of exchanging the ethical category with the aesthetic category.

The artist pursues not a 'good' work of art, but a 'beautiful' work of art, what matters here is a beautiful effect. And this means that the kitsch novel, even while often using quite naturalistic language, i. The techniques of kitsch, which are based on imitation, are rational and operate according to formulas; the remain rational even when their result has a highly irrational, even crazy, quality.

For through kitsch, as an imitation system, is obliged to coincide in all its aspects with art, the artwork's methodology as such cannot be imitated—all that can be imitated are its simplest forms.

It is quite significant—and nowhere is this so obvious as in poetry, but also somewhat in music—that kitsch must always revert to the most primitive methods, precisely because it completely lacks any imagination of its own…. The maker of kitsch does not create inferior art, he is not an incompetent or a bungler, he cannot be evaluated by aesthetic standards; rather he is ethically depraved, a criminal willing radical evil.

One of the defining characteristics of kitsch may be that it simulates non-existing emotions. Kitsch neutralizes them along with the aesthetic phenomenon as a whole. Kitsch is art that cannot, or does not want to, be taken seriously, while at the same time, through its appearance, postulating aesthetic seriousness…. In order to make the above definition of kitsch meaningful one would probably have to look at the expression of the work of art itself as an index of truth and falsehood.

To establish authenticity or lack of authenticity is endlessly complicated however—one of the complications being the fact that the truth content of means of expression changes over time….

Something to think about next time you are flipping through the pages of Popular Photography. Previous post A defense of romanticism Romanticism, landscape photography, and Isaiah Berlin. It is quite significant—and nowhere is this so obvious as in poetry, but also somewhat in music—that kitsch must always revert to the most primitive methods, precisely because it completely lacks any imagination of its own… And just so we can see how far Broch is willing to take this: The maker of kitsch does not create inferior art, he is not an incompetent or a bungler, he cannot be evaluated by aesthetic standards; rather he is ethically depraved, a criminal willing radical evil.

For a subtly different view, here is a tidbit from Adorno's Aesthetic Theory: One of the defining characteristics of kitsch may be that it simulates non-existing emotions. Kitsch is art that cannot, or does not want to, be taken seriously, while at the same time, through its appearance, postulating aesthetic seriousness… In order to make the above definition of kitsch meaningful one would probably have to look at the expression of the work of art itself as an index of truth and falsehood.

To establish authenticity or lack of authenticity is endlessly complicated however—one of the complications being the fact that the truth content of means of expression changes over time… Something to think about next time you are flipping through the pages of Popular Photography.

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Hermann Broch on Kitsch

Such objects are sometimes appreciated in a knowingly ironic or humorous way. Hence, 'kitsch art' is closely associated with 'sentimental art'. Kitsch is also related to the concept of camp , because of its humorous and ironic nature. Kitsch art may often contain palatable, pleasant and romantic themes and visuals that few would find disagreeable, shocking or otherwise objectionable; it generally attempts to appeal to the human condition and its natural standards of beauty on a superficial level. It may also be quaint or "quirky" without being controversial. To brand visual art as "kitsch" is generally but not exclusively pejorative , as it implies that the work in question is gaudy, or that it serves a solely ornamental and decorative purpose rather than amounting to a work of what may be seen as true artistic merit. However, art deemed kitsch may be enjoyed in an entirely positive and sincere manner.

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