The Exhaustion of the Critical Form as Aesthetic Value
PDF, 20 pages
The article examines the fact that from the 1960s onwards, artistic production left behind the paradigm of critique. If prior to this, an artwork was still able to establish an “appropriate distance” (Walter Benjamin) to the socio-political context of its production and the ideology within it, then in the 1960s a transformation occurs in the functioning of ideology: it becomes reflexive and self-ironic. This means that the potential of the form of critique and the power of generating critical effects through the artistic form reach their point of exhaustion. Safatle presents this development and the problems it produces by addressing the musical works and compositional techniques of Schoenberg, Boulez, Stravinsky, Adas, and Adés. He demonstrates why a new understanding of critique can only lie in a new understanding of the form that implies a flirtation of the form with the shapeless.
Although art always takes place in time, its manifestations – actual works of art – can be characterized by the specific and close connection they maintain between contemporaneity and timelessness. Their relation to time must be differentiated in a twofold manner: on the one hand, there is the relation to the time in which they are embedded, and, on the other, the relation to the time that they themselves create. In particular historical conditions a specific temporality of the artwork emerges. Both temporalities are superimposed on by one another, namely as a timelessness of artworks as such. The book assembles a variety of thinkers that confront one of the most crucial questions when dealing with the very definition, concept and operativity of art: How to link art to the concept of the contemporary?