Literature used for this post:
Grotesque, by Justin D. Edwards and Rune Graulund
The more I read this book, the more I realize that art grotesque is so much more than just a really interesting visual artistic style. Lots of social criticism can be found in there.
So, I just read the fifth chapter of this book. It discusses disharmony and transgression within art grotesque – mainly in literature, to be honest.
This chapter starts with clarifying some of the concepts it discusses.
Disharmony – transgresses the borders of what is considered a harmonious form to create disorientation and confusion, and is dependent on an idea of harmony, a sense of symmetry and balance.
Transgression – to violate rules and borders, to go beyond aesthetic limits, ethical/established forms of behaviour, violate rules, but also giving shape and form to the rules being violated.
Exaggeration – to enlarge or diminish something beyond normal proportions, to make it larger, better or worse than it is. This term is parted in two; parts of a complete form can be exaggerated, or the entire form is exaggerated.
Discussed within exaggeration are some physical traits; length, strength and weight. Among these, an extremely tall person is considered irreversable; nothing can be done about it (except, of course, chopping of the legs). Strength and over-weight are considered grotesque because they can be changed.
Extravagance – excessive waste, to show off, lacking restraint, go outside the borders for normality.
This is something I feel is done to a large extrent today. Society seems to admire extravagance in extreme.
Excess – another term that can be applied on our own society. Excessive consumption, crime et cetera – even extreme weather.
Within the grotesque, excess can be so powerful it creates a physical reaction in the audience. It is a destablizing factor to what is accepted and normal.
Admittedly, I’m not too impressed with this chapter. I do find the explainations of these words within the grotesque quite helpful (though not surprising), but again – they use examples and references of modern authors and critics, and I do find it a bit tedious.
However; I think I’ll find enormous joy when we start actually looking at art, to see for ourselves how all these terms and concepts manifest in the grotesque imagery.
Now, there are a few chapters in this book that I won’t be reading at this time. Two of them relate to topics that I have entire books to read about – and I think I’ll do that, instead.
See you in the next post, with another book. 🙂