Ces maudits trompe-l’oeil «qui ne peuvent que nous exciter l’appétit»: les arts face au défi de l’anti-aisthesis

Till R. KUHNLE


Abstract:

For Schopenhauer, the opposite of the sublime is the “charming and attractive” (das Reizende – in the translation of R. B. Haldane and J. Kemp). Objects of art – especially paintings and sculptures – should never excite the appetite for the things they are representing. Especially the representations of erotic scenes are supposed to “arouse” the Will. But there is also another possibility to affect the Will through the “negative species of the charming or exciting” (das Negativ-Reizende), method which is even more reprehensible; “this is the disgusting or the loathsome” (das Ekelhafte). Since all the senses are involved, this emotion could be considered as the perfect realization of synesthesia. It constitutes de facto the negation of all aisthesis (perception in the sense of aesthetic contemplation), but merely since the experience of most overwhelming emotion, anti-asithesis precedes – as a consequence of the fall from Paradise – all kind of aesthetics meaning distinction by taste. The relationship between the Apollonian and Dionysian established by Nietzsche is almost the first theoretical approach taking into consideration the phenomenon of anti-aisthesis. Ancored in the tradition of nietzschean aesthetics, philosophers like Levinas, Sartre, Bourdieu or Deleuze continue to develop the existential analysis of works of art and literature.

Keywords: synesthesia, taste, anti-aisthesis, disgust, painting

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