The Aesthetics of the Total Artwork: On Borders and Fragments

Overview

In The Aesthetics of the Total Artwork, artists, curators, and scholars from many countries and fields offer new ways of understanding the history and contemporary importance of the idea of the total artwork, or Gesamtkunstwerk.

The term " Gesamtkunstwerk" was introduced in the romantic period. It describes the desire for and practice of combining various art forms into a whole, such as performances that combine text, visual arts, music, dance, and architecture. Richard Wagner ...

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Overview

In The Aesthetics of the Total Artwork, artists, curators, and scholars from many countries and fields offer new ways of understanding the history and contemporary importance of the idea of the total artwork, or Gesamtkunstwerk.

The term " Gesamtkunstwerk" was introduced in the romantic period. It describes the desire for and practice of combining various art forms into a whole, such as performances that combine text, visual arts, music, dance, and architecture. Richard Wagner was one of the early theorists of the concept, inspiring many modernist artists; yet, due to his ideological significance for the Third Reich, the concept has frequently been associated with totalitarianism since the Second World War. Nonetheless, artistic practice has continued to incorporate all-inclusive tendencies, even while avoiding the term "total artwork."

The contributors to this volume challenge us to think again about the total artwork, daring to suggest that it is alive and well, that it informs current art in ways that are deep, meaningful, contentious, and provocative. The essays come from authors steeped in literary culture, the world of art, philosophy, and music theory. Such diverse perspectives can only stimulate debate in the academy and beyond about the history of the Gesamtkunstwerk and open up paths that may be followed in its future.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801895821
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 12/15/2010
  • Series: Rethinking Theory
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Anke Finger is an associate professor of German and comparative literature at the University of Connecticut. Danielle Follett is at the Université Paris—VIII (Saint Denis).

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Chapter 1 Dynamiting the Gesamtkunstwerk: An Introduction to the Aesthetics of the Total Artwork Danielle Follett Anke Finger 1

Part I Aesthetic Considerations: Fragment, Unity, Chance, Idea

Chapter 2 Variations on Totality: Romanticism and the Total Work of Art Olivier Schefer 29

Chapter 3 Tendency, Disintegration, Decay: Stages of the Aesthetics of the Fragment from Friedrich Schlegel to Thomas Bernhard Justus Fetscher 52

Chapter 4 "The Completed Work Is a Rejection of Disintegration and Destruction": A Plea for Aesthetic Unity Jürgen Söring 74

Chapter 5 Tout et N'importe Quoi: The Total Artwork and the Aesthetics of Chance Danielle Follett 86

Chapter 6 Idea/Imagination/Dialogue: The Total Artwork and Conceptual Art Anke Finger 110

Chapter 7 "And a Loose Community Assembles": An Interview with Molly Nesbit Danielle Follett 128

What Is a Station? Molly Nesbit Hans-Ulrich Obrist Rirkrit Tiravanija 128

Chapter 8 Form and Reform: An Interview with Mark Alizart Danielle Follett 142

Part II On Defining and Defying Borders: Genres and Disciplines

Chapter 9 The Gesamtkunstwerk and Interactive Multimedia Randall Packer 155

Chapter 10 Invisible Wagner Juliet Koss 168

Chapter 11 Music as Imminent Gesamtkunstwerk: Absolute Music, Synesthesia, and The Lucky Hand Simon Shaw-Miller 191

Chapter 12 Avant-Garde Theater as Total Artwork? Media-Theoretical Reflections on the Historical Development of Performing Art Forms Christiane Heibach 209

Chapter 13 The Drawing as Total Artwork? Image Totality in Carl Einstein and Paul Klee Reto Sorg 227

Chapter 14 Total Artwork vs. Revolution: Art, Politics, and Temporalities in the Expressionist Architectural Utopias and the Merzbau Maria Stavrinaki 253

Chapter 15 The Sorcerer's Apprentice: László Moholy-Nagy and His Light Prop for an Electrical Stage Joyce Tsai 277

Chapter 16 Polyglot Poetry: Multilingualism and the Aesthetics of the Gesamtkunstwerk Rainer Guldin 305

Chapter 17 Singin' in the Marxist Rain Robert Kaufman 327

Chapter 18 Gesamtkunstwerk and Formelkomposition: The Formal Principles of the Multiple Work-Totality in Karlheinz Stockhausen's Light Ivanka Stoianova 346

Notes 371

List of Contributors 447

Index 455

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