Wednesday, October 1, 2014
The threat to art is no longer post-modernist ugliness
Pastiche is not just pastiche. It is not just empty forms about which we could say, "It may be pastiche, but at least it is some kind of preservation of the past forms; at least it's better than brutalist modern ugliness." Such thinking is idiotic. The forms of the past (and carried forward) were a cooperative with the inspiration under which they came; you are not only falsifying the past, but erecting barriers into the future. There is no such thing as pastiche that preserves anything. For it is positive mockery, regardless of the intent of the pastiche-maker. Pastiche is ten times deadlier than post-modernist, brutalist, deconstructionist art. That's not hyperbole. I say that in dead earnest seriousness. Those who do not see this, yet claim to care about tradition, positively settling with pastiche if only in some kind of "for the meantime" as at least preserving past forms, are not to be trusted, in my opinion. They do not know what they are talking about.
And no, that does not mean that conservative copying of past works necessarily equals pastiche, just in the same way that liberal expressionism does not necessarily equal ugliness. (I use the terms "conservative" and "liberal" as extreme shorthand by the way, and with much loathing for the inadequacy of the terms, not to mention their inaccuracy.) The whole point about pastiche is in its attaining. Professional perfectionism and pastiche are convertible. Perfectionism is ultimately pastiche. Perfectionism is highly imperfect. One is starting from the wrong place. It is the failure of achieving exactly what you set out to achieve. Thus, relying on perfectionism will only show up as as something very flawed, flabby, shallow, imperfect. The higher its perfectionism the greater it stands there like a lump of coal. Nor is the "solution" to be understood as some balance between techni and spontaneity.