By Thomas Harrison
The 12 months 1910 marks an excellent, and mostly unrecognized, juncture in Western heritage. during this perceptive interdisciplinary research, Thomas Harrison addresses the extreme highbrow fulfillment of the time. targeting the cultural weather of center Europe and paying specific consciousness to the lifestyles and paintings of Carlo Michelstaedter, he deftly portrays the reciprocal implications of other discourses--philosophy, literature, sociology, track, and portray. His fantastically balanced and deeply proficient learn presents a brand new, wider, and extra formidable definition of expressionism and exhibits the importance of this flow in shaping the creative and highbrow temper of the age.1910 probes the recurrent issues and obsessions within the paintings of intellectuals as varied as Egon Schiele, Georg Trakl, Vasily Kandinsky, Georg Luk?cs, Georg Simmel, Dino Campana, and Arnold Schoenberg. including Michelstaedter, who dedicated suicide in 1910 on the age of 23, those thinkers shared the basic issues of expressionism: a feeling of irresolvable clash in human life, the philosophical prestige of loss of life, and a quest for the character of human subjectivity. Expressionism, Harrison argues provocatively, used to be a final, determined try out through the intelligentsia to shield the most venerable assumptions of eu tradition. This ideological desperation, he claims, used to be greater than a religious prelude to international struggle I: it used to be an unheeded, prophetic critique.
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Extra resources for 1910: The Emancipation of Dissonance
The feeling for the good is that which is embodied in those "powerful, expressive, and definite forms" that burst the constraints on a soul (Kandinsky 1912a: 236 and 257). Schoenberg describes a comparable energy when he stresses that art cannot be produced by technical ingenuity, but only by spiritual compulsion: "Expressive content wishes to make itself understood; its upheaval produces a form. A volcano erupts . . a steam-kettle explodes" (Schoenberg 1911b: 367). The same inevitability is at work in the feeling for the good.
Schoenberg never outgrows his polemical bearing toward his own epoch, upholding to the end the estranged and maligned independence of the creative artist. As a current in art and thought, expressionism at large is certainly more taken by the (rhetorical) deficiencies of being than by any of its self-justifying persuasions. If anything, its affirmations of negativity, discord, and dissonance present a better fit for the main model for these artists—the tragic, Dionysian philosopher Nietzsche—than for their own achievements.
Here unions and contrasts are one and the same. At this junction of materialism and spirituality, Kandinsky describes his language of form and color as constructed out of a series of self-propagating oppositions: warm and cold, light and dark, concentric and eccentric, activity and passivity (Kandinsky 1909–11: 161–195; Cheetham 1991: 76–77). The two poles between which art has always found its place— namely, objective "impression" and subjective "expression"—come to meet at their extremes. "Realism = Abstraction / Abstraction = Realism.
1910: The Emancipation of Dissonance by Thomas Harrison