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Ugliness and savagery

in contemporary art and popular


image

A culture in crisis?
(Dimitri Goossens)

Transgressive art and images attack our way of


perception and interpretation
Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali, Un Chien
Andalou, 1929

Zbigniew Libera, Lego Concentration


Camp, 1996

Robert Gligorov, The Jacketwaiting, 1997

Andres Serrano, The Morgue: Hacked to


death II, 1992

1) Roger Scruton:
analysis of a culture in crisis
GENERAL REMARKS
Central idea in work:
Uprooting of mankind
Alienation of mankind

Causes:
Secularization
Disenchantment

Consequence:
Loneliness of western man

Postmodernism

1) Roger Scruton:
analysis of a culture in crisis
Roger Scruton, Beauty, 2009

1) Roger Scruton:
analysis of a culture in crisis
THE CRISIS
Crisis of beauty : symptom of western culture in
crisis
Criticism: chapter Flight from Beauty
Crisis of the sacred: fundament of crisis of beauty
Central point: postmodern desecration
Destruction and defilement of claims of aesthetic judgment
to transcendent ideals (Defilement of Beauty)
Addiction to shock, savage fantasies

1) Roger Scruton:
analysis of a culture in crisis
HIS SOLUTION
Restauration of beauty
-Elevation to transcendent ideals (sacred)
Redemption: fallen condition

Through this restauration:


Humanitas (Bildung)
Romantic ideals
Art as replacement for religion

2) Postmodern desecration: crisis of


the sacred?
Sak : root of.
Sanctus
Sacred

Roger Scruton versus Georges Bataille:


the sacred: conceptual difference
Defilement and transgression

2) Postmodern desecration: crisis of


the sacred?
Georges Bataille:
Art as tear or cut to the sacred (dchirure)
Artwork:
set apart
ex-static, transgressive (norm, taboo)
Cfr. Heideggers description of Greek temple

Julia Kristeva:
The abject: fallen state, cast out (taboo)

3) Contemporary transgressive art and


image
Vanitas

3) Contemporary transgressive art and


image
The sublime
J.M.W. Turner, Vesuvius in Eruption,
1817 impossibility of death in the mind of
Damien Hirst, Physical
someone living, 1991

3) Contemporary transgressive art


and image
Damien Hirst, A Thousand Years, 1990

3) Contemporary transgressive art


and image
HORROR (popular transgressive image)
Themes in horror
The sublime monster
Human frailty: the body
Conservative moral
Human?/Inhuman?
Questioning of beliefs

4) Conclusion: a dark mirror


Question what it means to be human still
central
Making a tear or cut in everyday beliefs
and categories
Confirming beliefs and ideals by
transgression
Reminder of moral frailty and of reality of
evil
Sense of community: shared fears
Sense of moral and aesthetic stability
through shock

Caravaggio, Medusa, 1598-1599

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