Adorno and Art: Aesthetic Theory Contra Critical Theory by James Hellings PDF

By James Hellings

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If the development towards the administered international is nearing crowning glory, if spectacularised societies, industrialised cultures, and reified cognizance have taken keep an eye on, then, Adorno and Art indicates how radical and progressive Adorno’s aesthetic conception of art’s double personality is still, and the way advanced, imaginitive and oppositional, kinds of paintings supply, maybe, the easiest desire for overcoming broken life.

The caricatures of Adorno, his politics and his aesthetics, are popular blunders of judgement—widely repeated either via the academy and via the Left. Adorno’s aesthetics has been accused of failing to maintain speed with innovative inventive practices and for being socio-politically aloof. regardless of the patience of those caricatures, this booklet exhibits how major pictures and subject matters in Adorno’s thought stay suitable to the present state of affairs of artwork, aesthetics and politics.

The Adorno on express during this quantity was once no bourgeois mandarin, no conceited aesthete, no esoteric mystic, no depression pessimist, and no educational specialist holed up within the proverbial ivory tower.

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Extra info for Adorno and Art: Aesthetic Theory Contra Critical Theory

Sample text

This involves thinking about the formal language of art, particularly in painting, which consists of: ‘not only line, shape, hue, tint, composition and colour, but also texture, impasto, scratches, and striations on the painted surface; paint skin, drips, and the general materiality of the paint. This is the material facture of the painting’, as distinguished from its figurative, symbolic, iconographic or narrative content (Newton 2001: 20). From his emphasis on the materiality of the artwork, Newton then introduces the term ‘ek-stasis’ to define the artwork in terms of the transformative, therapeutic experience it provides for the artist.

Newton says that particularly abstract art has this quality and (urgent) agency (Newton 2001: 57). This is a significant position, since psychoanalysis and art therapy rely their transformative use of art almost exclusively on the figurative artwork, as a representation of some aspect of the artist or viewer’s psyche: […] psychoanalysis has virtually ignored modern abstract art, which deals with art’s intrinsic formal language. Abstract art is pure form and doesn’t provide the footholds and analogies such as condensation and displacement, on which psychoanalysis traditionally relies for its interpretation.

When I was leaving the studio, I saw another painting. It was a blue rectangular block, which contained a photograph of a young woman. This woman crouched down and brushed her hand on the ground of the earth. She seemed to be a ghost lurking in this old sepia photograph, and looked somewhat overwhelmed. Whilst I was looking at this painting, I realized that I could see myself, and also my own process of looking. In this way, during this aesthetic experience, my own story seemed to intertwine with the artist’s, in a chiasmus, from the flesh of these sensations which I was feeling, therein.

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