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By Herbert Grabes

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Extra info for Making Strange: Beauty, Sublimity, and the (Post)Modern ''Third Aesthetic'' (Postmodern Studies)

Sample text

New modes of perception and reading were necessary which had yet to develop. The Unfamiliar Metaphors of Expressionism The destruction of a familiar reality was most evident at first in the visual arts. In German Expressionism, which combined the subjective sense of colour of the Fauvists with a glaring distortion of forms, a renunciation of a realistic orientation in art is clearly seen. One is met, instead, with the creation of another reality which of necessity appears strange because it is not primarily based on the communal outside world but on expressive, individual, unconscious inner powers of creation.

Stream of Consciousness I would like to at least mention one of the most important literary achievements of Modernism, for which there are only symbolic equivalents to be found in the visual arts due to limitations of the medium: the presentation of the stream of consciousness as a complex mesh of past and present. When reading the novels of James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, above all, however, Marcel Proust’s monumental A la recherche du temps perdu, the reader is given the chance to imagine strange inner worlds with unprecedented precision and subtlety because the processual nature of these worlds is quite effectively suggested.

It was a very essential opening-up of what is considered to be art – the assumption that the artist has to have created his work himself in the sense of a craftsman, which was totally indisputable up to that point, was rendered null and void. On the contrary, Duchamp established that it was enough if the artist chose the presented object, thereby endowing it with a new meaning. The idea that art can be created by means of a simple de-functionalization (or more exactly: by creating a new function) could be demonstrated most provocatively and effectively by choosing very banal everyday objects.

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