sexta-feira, 27 de maio de 2011
I bought this book in a catalan bookstore in Madrid, across the street from Círculo de Bellas Artes, a place I like to visit for the coffee, the exhibitions and the general atmosphere. Having a catalan bookstore in such a central place in Madrid shows that democratic Spain has come a long way since Franco. I can understand about 95% of writen catalan. Some of the books on sale in that shop are in spanish, as was the case with this one. I was imediatly atracted by the beauty of the cover and the sides color purple, then intrigued by the title, and finnaly seduced by the writing. It´s a wonderfull book and I became an instant fan of Celeste Olalquiaga.
From a review: " The Artificial Kingdom is the first book to provide a cultural history of kitsch, an immensely popular aesthetic phenomenon that has always been disdained as "bad taste," or a cheap imitation of art. Proposing instead that kitsch is the product of a larger sensibility of loss, Celeste Olalquiaga shows how it enables the momentary re-creation of experiences that exist only as memories or fantasies. Simultaneously exposing and celebrating this process, Olalquiaga gives us a bold, trenchant analysis of what and how we see when we look at kitsch.
Tracing its beginnings to the nineteenth century--when industrialization transformed nature into an artificial kingdom of miniature scale--Olalquiaga describes the at once exhilarated and melancholic atmosphere where kitsch came to life. In an arresting mix of theory and anecdote, she examines objects from both the past and the present, probing the fluid boundaries between reality and fantasy, and finding in kitsch a phenomenon as relevant to our own time as it was to the era that made it a massive experience."