Cultura International Journal of Philosophy of Culture and Axiology

Volume 7, Issue 2, 2010

Massimo Verzella, Aldo Marroni
Pages 9-20

Values of Art and Shadow of Evil

According to the French philosopher Alain, art must regain its existence as a real and solid object to counteract deceitful imagination. In line with this view is Yves Michaud’s description of the “gaseous” state of contemporary art. Paradoxically, the wide circulation of many ‘artistic’ products, destined to be consumed and invoke emotions, does not indicate that we are in presence of an important affirmation of ethical and aesthetical values. As it were, the proliferation of aesthetic objects has destroyed the symbolic value of art. The Italian philosopher Gianni Carchia has underlined how the disappearance of the axiological dimension has led art towards imposture and under the yoke of imagination, which both assist the strategies of the demonic. At this point a question arises: is it possible to eradicate the power of the demonic and evil from our existential condition? According to Jung it’s impossible. In Castelli’s view, the union between art, evil and the demonic has characterized the artistic panorama of the sixteenth century. In the twentieth-century, we owe to Hermann Broch – who brought the raising power of kitsch under philosophical scrutiny − the idea of a complicity between degraded art and evil. Not all scholars agreed that Kitsch represented evil. Many philosophers argued that the growing popularity of Kitsch among the masses posed a problem concerning the demand for art. For this reason, philosophical speculation had better not take a Manichean attitude and reject Kitsch outright, on the contrary, Kitsch should be studied with the aim of transforming the “hunger for art”, of which it is a manifestation, into a desire for ethical and artistic values.