In this paper the meaning of some key-terms of the Neo-platonic aesthetic theory are investigated:
mimesis, logos, erôs, theôrein/theôria
. These terms are examined in Platonic (Alcinous) as well as in Neo-platonic (Plotinus, Proclus) context of emanation. After having investigated their more or less similar views the author tries to give an explanation to the basic attitude of the Neo-platonic philosophers towards the essence of arts.
In the accounts of early twentieth-century modernism the ethnographic object and its ‘discovery’ by avant-garde artists has come to occupy a central role. But the African studies by the German author and critic Carl Einstein (1885–1940) and the Latvian artist Vladimir Markov (1877–1914) have regularly been demoted to the footnotes of primitivist appropriations. In the histories of non-Western cultures and the anthropology of art both have endured a place in obscurity. Described as ‘the first and most influential’ of the ‘champions of primitive art’, Einstein's Negerplastik has regained some recognition, whereas Markov's Iskusstvo Negrov remains the lesser known of the two books. Emerging at the same historical juncture both authors postulated the limits of Western artistic traditions by advocating the aesthetic autonomy of non-Western sculpture. By introducing a comparative reading, this paper argues that the image/text strategies of both studies orchestrated a poetics of alterity that was central to their respective theoretical agendas and indicative of the politically charged cultural exchanges within the early-twentieth-century avant-garde. In addition to their seemingly analogous motivations it is proposed that their ‘ethnographic turn’ was based, nevertheless, upon conflicting approaches that betray their individual philosophical and artistic affiliations.
The expulsion of the notion of literary value from literary theory in late modernity belies the connection between morality
and art, morality and beauty, morality and aesthetic judgement that has been formative and transformative of aesthetic theory
in the wake of reflexive modernity. In this paper, I would like to trace the formations and transformations wrought in the
relations between notions of taste, morality, and aesthetic judgement. And I will attempt to show how literary value is integrally
bound up with aesthetic judgement and critique, not only at the inception of the practice of literary criticism in the eighteenth
century, but at the point of its expulsion in the mid-twentieth century. The expulsion of literary and artistic value, I will
argue, coincides with the inclusion of the negation of art in the definition of the modernist work of art itself, which thereby
becomes assimilated to philosophical inquiry.
This paper examines some of the figures through which ambivalence is transposed into ambiguity. It raises the following questions:
How has work on ambivalence shifted from the philosophy and anthropology of religion to individual psychology to group psychology,
and then, across some ruptures, to poetics—and how has it been able to slide between them? How is it possible that it is devalued
as primitive, pre-rational thinking on the one hand, and valued as evincing the highest cognitive, imaginative, and aesthetic
faculties on the other? I will approach these questions from primarily two sites: firstly, from psychoanalysis encompassing
both the ontogenetic history individual psychic formation, and the phylogenetic history of cultural-societal formations, and,
secondly, from aesthetic theory. The complex transcriptions mediating between these distinct sites belie a the simple charge
of the “psychologisation of religious experience” in late modernity (Agamben).
The year 1955 has a special importance for the compositional thinking in Hungary, because it was the year in which Ernő Lendvai's studies of Béla Bartók appeared (Bartók's Style and An Introduction to the Analysis of Bartók's Works). These writings were intended to prove the modernity of his music, a modernity that was comparable to Western-European dodecaphony and serialism. Hungarian composers, attempting to liberate themselves from the dictatorical aesthetic theory of the fifties, saw in Lendvai's publications a kind of instruction book, a Kompositionslehre which could help them to renew Hungarian composition. Model scales, Bartók's harmonic formulas and the Golden Section were understood in this context as devices of modernity in new music. Young Hungarian composers had begun to follow Bartók's path as early as in the mid-twenties. Until 1955, however, this had meant only a stylistic imitation of his works: Bartók's musical language represented for them the modern manner of self-expression. The consequence of Lendvai's publications was that composers could move away from style imitation and build on some Bartókian constructional principles in their compositions. I take Endre Szervánszky's Second String Quartet (1956-57) and its manuscript sources as a case study demonstrating how the composer worked with scale models, the golden section and other elements of Lendvai's theory. As I argue, Szervánszky's work is an emblematic but also a complex case, for he strove to combine the Bartókian method with a kind of serialism.
This paper traces the complex relations of György Lukács to visual art and aesthetics, from his early writings through his engagement with artistic politics in the post-World War II ‘people’s democracy’ transitional period and during the Stalinist dictatorship. In one sense, Lukács seems obsolete for contemporary art and aesthetics, as a philosopher and critic with an out-of-fashion aesthetic theory, justifying a canon of works opposed even to the mainstream of the 20th century modernism, and deployed in the service of a cultural politics of Soviet and Eastern Bloc socialism now seen as historically superseded and discredited. In another sense, Lukács’s non-contemporaneity may been seen through the dispersed reception of his work, particularly across the Cold War East–West divide, in which different moments of Lukács’s oeuvre were picked up and developed in divergent ways. Given these multiple contexts of reception, the author and thinker ‘György Lukács’ could never be wholly contemporary with himself, but always signified a variable complex of his current writing as well as the afterlife of earlier phases of his work. Lastly, there is an additional sense of ‘non-contemporaneity’ that is associated especially with Lukács’s one-time friend and ally Ernst Bloch, for whom being non-identical with one’s time implied a reserve of potentiality not yet realized, but latent within the inheritance of culture. With reference to László Lakner’s works based on Lukács’s books, I conclude with the possibility that the ‘non-contemporaneity’ of Lukács may yet have something to offer contemporary art and aesthetics.