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Szuromi, Pál

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Élet és Irodalom - Hungary | 21/05/2008

The invasion of kitsch

Art historian Pál Szuromi reflects on the incorporation of kitsch into contemporary culture: "It is bad enough that we are constantly bombarded with infuriating sentimental rubbish by countless TV stations and confronted with piles of tasteless junk every time we go to a department store or market, but now we are facing an onslaught of Chinese trash. True, we could just cut ourselves off from the world, or simply close our eyes from time to time. But even if we do this we cannot ignore the fact that over the past few decades a worrying 'age of kitsch' has set in. .... There can be no doubt about it: what we are seeing now is a Babylonian confusion between quantitative and qualitative culture. The only shimmer of hope I can see is the development and refinement of our visual skills. After all, in the words of Alfred de Vigny: he who is capable of seeing does not waste time. What may seem like inactivity to one person is observation and reflection for another."

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