marina rajicic trajkovic


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so evasive...
Kitsch says: "Love me do!" - I respond: "I can`t. I won`t! Yours is foul play."

In his book on psychology of kitsch as the art of happiness, sociologist Abraham A. Mole stated that kitsch was defined by 5 principles: mediocrity, inadequacy, accumulation, sinesthesia (the simultaneous esthetic perception by two or more senses), and comfort. A work of kitsch creates stereotypes which serve the purpose of instant satisfaction.

The basic two ways of understanding kitsch view it from two different angles: the measuring principle of the institutions, of the academies and the legislative culture, sees kitsch as the deviation, the delusion of taste; from the viewpoint of reception, kitsch is the art (or rather - craft) of happiness. Both theories have very little to do with the original meaning of the term coined in the ambience of the German avant-garde from the beginning of the 20th century...

Svetlana Slapšak: "On Kitsch" - excerpt: "Kitsch is the abundance of things, a hyper-production of objects but also of the ideas relating to the belief-structure it simultaneously feeds of and keeps (re)creating. ... The term, today, denotes a vast area of production which is easier to perceive than to define... "

Indeed, how does one identify kitsch?

Essentially, its chief ambition is to be easy to understand; it works so hard at it that it will eventually suspend any activity, or at least any strain on the part of the reception. It offers the viewer the shortest, easiest path to pleasure. It tends to appeal to as many people as possible and doesn't welcome resistance. Inherent in kitsch are dishonesty, imitation, lack of love for what is being created and of respect for the artistic creation.

"Kitsch is a parody of catharsis" - Theodore Adorno; he argued that this mass-produced art does not challenge the dominant power structure in any way. In fact, that it is not even art, but more of an ideological surrogate structured by specific class interests.

"Kitsch wants to be loved" - Jenifer Robinson; it is "artwork" that aims at universal acceptance.

Milan Kundera links kitsch to propaganda characterizing it as untaxing art that “excludes everything from its purview” that is unacceptable in life. It is idealized and aims at universal acceptance in a way that is self-conscious and normative. He writes:
Kitsch causes two tears to flow in quick succession.The first tear says: How nice to see children running on the grass!... The second tear says: How nice to be moved, together with all mankind, by children running on the grass!... It is the second tear that makes kitsch kitsch… Kitsch is the aesthetic ideal of all political parties and movements.” This definition would seem to rely on a specific emotional response and again emphasizes “effortless catharsis”.

"Kitsch is simply parasitic on the emotions that it refers to" - Thomas Kulka; kitsch depicts objects or themes that are highly charged with stock emotions, the themes that are instantly and easily identifiable while it does not substantially enrich our associations relating to the themes.

"Kitsch seems to require no reflection whatsoever, and actually does not allow reflection" - Kathleen M. Higgins; Higgins argues that kitsch “of the saccharine kind”, which she calls “sweet kitsch” makes a certain appeal to the viewer. The kitsch image “appeals by making reference to something not depicted, to the “cultural archetypes”; to the infantile structure of beliefs, in our own minds, in the ideal order of things, which had been unwillingly and only partially disowned by the viewer through our growing up without actual maturing of the spirit.
Indeed, when it comes across a "mature spirit", kitsch tends to induce discomfort with its offensive manner of contextualizing the universal or the archetypal values, putting them in lesser contexts. Observing kitsch we might feel like being the love interest of someone for whom we feel no attraction. Kitsch almost demands a response that it fails to evoke, while we might register no psychological change whatsoever, or none positive or enriching at least.

Resisting kitsch requires education and layers of experience to have shaped our esthetic taste. Kitsch has always been around but has never withstood the test of time. However, resisting kitsch might nowadays be more difficult than ever, with its mass production and the absence of both solid education and audible criticism.

What do You think?