Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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Reality Bites

From Ernst Bloch, "Discussing Expressionism" in Theodor Adorno et. al., Aesthetics and Politics--
Lukács's thought takes for granted a closed and integrated reality that does indeed exclude the subjectivity of idealism, but not the seamless 'totality' which has always thriven best in idealist systems, including those of classical German philosophy. Whether such a totality in fact constitutes reality, is open to question. If it does, then Expressionist experiments with disruptive and interpolative techniques are but an empty jeu d'esprit, as are the more recent experiments with montage and other devices of discontinuity. But what if Lukács's reality -- a coherent, infinitely mediated totality -- is not so objective after all?

What if his conception of reality has failed to liberate itself completely from Classical systems? What if authentic reality is also discontinuity? Since Lukács operates with a closed, objectivistic conception of reality, when he comes to examine Expressionism he resolutely rejects any attempt on the part of artists to shatter any image of the world, even that of capitalism. Any art which strives to exploit the real fissures in surface inter-relations and to discover the new in their crevices, appears in his eyes merely as a wilful act of destruction. He thereby equates experiment in demolition with a condition of decadence (22)
Tags: autobiography, collage, commonplace book, self-portrait, theory

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