New PDF release: 1910: The Emancipation of Dissonance

By Thomas Harrison

ISBN-10: 0520200438

ISBN-13: 9780520200432

ISBN-10: 0585184313

ISBN-13: 9780585184319

The yr 1910 marks an impressive, and principally unrecognized, juncture in Western historical past. during this perceptive interdisciplinary research, Thomas Harrison addresses the extreme highbrow fulfillment of the time. concentrating on the cultural weather of heart Europe and paying specific cognizance to the existence and paintings of Carlo Michelstaedter, he deftly portrays the reciprocal implications of alternative discourses--philosophy, literature, sociology, tune, and portray. His superbly balanced and deeply proficient learn offers a brand new, wider, and extra formidable definition of expressionism and exhibits the importance of this move in shaping the inventive and highbrow temper of the age.1910 probes the recurrent subject matters and obsessions within the paintings of intellectuals as assorted as Egon Schiele, Georg Trakl, Vasily Kandinsky, Georg Luk?cs, Georg Simmel, Dino Campana, and Arnold Schoenberg. including Michelstaedter, who devoted suicide in 1910 on the age of 23, those thinkers shared the basic matters of expressionism: a feeling of irresolvable clash in human life, the philosophical prestige of dying, and a quest for the character of human subjectivity. Expressionism, Harrison argues provocatively, used to be a final, determined try through the intelligentsia to shield essentially the most venerable assumptions of eu tradition. This ideological desperation, he claims, was once greater than a non secular prelude to international warfare I: it was once an unheeded, prophetic critique.

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Representatives of either side of the debate will try to discredit their antagonists' position or reinterpret it as a bad version of their own. Idealists will describe scientific materialism as a possible worldview among many, while neopositivists will claim that idealism is no more than a linguistic misunderstanding. Between these two positions lie various attempts to synthesize perceptible and conceptual experience into a unitary picture of reality (the phenomenism of Ernst Mach, the pragmatism of William James, the "fourth dimension" of P.

Against the background of fragmented, supersaturated or empty spaces, among jarring colorations or clashing planes, a face or a figure mysteriously emerges, flattened into two dimensions, bespeaking perception but not understanding. Whatever assumptions the sitters for portraits by these artists might have had about their inner identities, in these works they find them unmasked, and then remasked, recast as essences at odds with their appearances. Offering neither a likeness of a subject nor a transformation of that likeness into a transcendent symbol, expressionistic portraits present allegories of a destiny spent anxiously negotiating the difference—between fact and interpretation or objective and subjective reality, both allegories of a third, estranged condition in which everything is tension, emotion, and drama.

It is rather an upheaval of the content in the very effort to make itself understood. Accordingly, the form of this upheaval can only be turbulent, dynamic, and unresolved. This, if anything, is the "expressionism" of Kandinsky's and Schoenberg's art: a "pressing out" of something not necessarily understood in which discovery occurs. Like others of their generation, Kandinsky and Schoenberg were familiar with the theories of the art ― 60 ― historian Alois Riegl to the effect that every artwork manifests an artistic will, or Kunstwollen .

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1910: The Emancipation of Dissonance by Thomas Harrison

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