El Lissitzky, Neuer [New Man], litograph from the series Figurines: The Three-Dimensional Design of the Electro-Mechanical Show “Victory over the Sun”. Lissitzky worked to adapt the 1913 opera Victory over the Sun for a cast of mechanical puppets. Copies of the prints are held in Canberra at the National Gallery of Australia.

Theodor Adorno writes:

Beauty, as single, true and liberated from appearance and individuation, manifests itself not in the synthesis of all works, in the unity of the arts and art, but only as a physical reality: in the downfall of art itself. This downfall is the goal of every work of art, in that it seeks to bring death to all others. That all art aims to end art, is another way of saying the same thing. It is this impulse to self-destruction inherent in works of art, their innermost striving towards an image of beauty free of appearance, that is constantly stirring up the aesthetic disputes that are apparently so futile. While obstinately seeking to establish aesthetic truth, and trapping themselves thereby in an irresoluble dialectic, they stumble on the real truth… (extract from section 47 of Minima Moralia (London: Verso, 2005)).

Notes

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