Art equals four times Kitsch minus Meaning. But then what is Art?

Robert Musil (1880 - 1942)

Robert Musil (1880 – 1942)

“Two thoughts are produced:

 (1) – Art detouches kitsch from life. Kitsch detouches life from meaning.

 (2) – The more abstract art becomes, the more artistic it is. The more abstract kitsch becomes, the more kitsch it is.

 What exquisite thoughts! Let’s extract some conclusions…

 From the second it appears that Kitsch equals Art. But, according to the first one, Kitsch equals Meaning minus Life. Art equals Life minus Kitsch equals Life minus Meaning plus Life equals two times Life minus Meaning. But, according to (2), we get Life equals two times Kitsch and therefore Art equals four times Kitsch minus Meaning. But then what is Art?”

From the short story “Black Magic” of  the “Posthumous Papers of a Living Author” by Robert Musil (1880 – 1942)

A strange kind of modernist, satiric algebra involving Life and Art that Musil selected as “worthy residue”.



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