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Theodor Adorno and the construction of artistic modernism

Grant number: 16/00472-8
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2016
Effective date (End): May 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Principal researcher:Marcos Severino Nobre
Grantee:Raquel Patriota da Silva
Home Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):18/01504-6 - Modernism and modern art in Adorno's late work, BE.EP.DR

Abstract

Our research aims to map changes in the notion of "modern art" through Theodor W. Adorno's aesthetic writings. Our working hypothesis is that there was a shift in Adorno's conception of artistic modernism: in the texts of a first period, those written between the 1930s and early 1950s, we can observe that the philosopher holds as "modern" the "most advanced" art according to the criterion of technical mastery over the materials, since this art can express social contradictions through its formal structure. However, from the second half of the 1950s, taking the text "The aging of the New Music" as its starting point, we notice that Adorno gradually acknowledges that his first theoretical assumptions started to fall behind the latest artistic trends, mainly due to the expansion of artistic media and avant-garde experimentation. The twelve-tone technique of Arnold Schoenberg and the writings of Franz Kafka would work as paradigms for the first idea of artistic modernism; concerning the second model, once Adorno recognizes the "aging" of the new music, he scrutinizes Darmstadt School's total serialism and its consequences, as well as assesses the full unfolding of a crisis in the very purpose of art, which would be expressed in Samuel Becket's literary oeuvre. Studying these changes in Adorno's thought shall help to elucidate the historical configurations that shaped his aesthetics. (AU)