Art between Fetishism and Melancholy in Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory

Authors

  • Rok Benčin Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17533/udea.ef.352426

Keywords:

aesthetics, commodity fetishism, melancholy, form, Adorno, Marx, Freud

Abstract

The article explores Adorno’s understanding of fetishism and melancholy as immanent to the artwork’s autonomous structure. In order to understand the relation between them, the Freudian understanding of fetishism and melancholy has to be considered along with the more explicit reference to the Marxist concept of commodity fetishism. Analysing the implications of Adorno’s claim that commodity fetishism is at the origin of artistic autonomy, the article shows how it should be understood not only as a materialist demystification but also as a reaffirmation of art’s apparent self-sufficiency and its capacity to resist the commodification of society. Nevertheless—the article claims—thas this is only possible if art’s fetishism is dialectically opposed to its melancholy, through which art establishes a relation to the heterogeneous element of the lost object produced by its autonomous form.

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Author Biography

Rok Benčin, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts

is a Research Associate at the Institute of Philosophy of the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts. He has held visiting appointments at the University of Paris 8 and the University of Applied Arts Vienna. He is a member of the International Comparative Literature Association’s Research Committee on Literary Theory. His research focuses on the relations between aesthetics, ontology and politics in contemporary philosophy. His book Rethinking the Concept of World: Towards Tran- scendental Multiplicity is forthcoming with Edinburgh University Press.

References

Adorno, T. W. (1973). Negative Dialectics (E. B. Ashton, Trans.). Routledge.

Adorno, T. W. (1991). Notes to Literature, Vol. 1 (S. Weber Nicholsen, Trans.). Columbia

University Press.

Adorno, T. W. (1997). Aesthetic Theory (R. Hullot-Kentor, Trans.). Continuum.

Benčin, R. (2019a). Art between Affect and Indifference in Hegel, Adorno and Rancière. Filozofski Vestnik, 40(1), 165-182. https://ojs.zrc-sazu.si/filozofski-vestnik/article/view/8100

Benčin, R. (2019b). Form and Affect: Artistic Truth in Adorno and Badiou. In J. Völker (Ed.), Badiou and the German Tradition of Philosophy (pp. 197–216). Bloomsbury. https:// doi.org/10.5040/9781350069978.ch-011

Cahn, M. (1984). Subversive Mimesis. Theodor W. Adorno and the Modern Impasse of Critique. In: M. Spariosu (Ed.), Mimesis in Contemporary Theory. Volume 1: The Literary and Philosophical Debate (pp. 27–64). John Benjamin’s Publishing Company. https://doi. org/10.1075/cl.1.1.04cah

Freud, S. (1957). Mourning and Melancholia. In: The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Vol. XIV (pp. 243–258) (J. Strachey, Trans.) Hogarth Press.

Freud, S. (1961). Fetishism. In: The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Vol. XXI (pp. 147–157) (J. Strachey, Trans.) Hogarth Press.

Hegel, G. W. F. (1988). Aesthetics: Lectures on Fine Art, Vol. I (T. M. Knox, Trans.). Oxford University Press.

Jameson, F. (2007). Late Marxism: Adorno or the Persistence of the Dialectic. Verso.

Leibniz G. W. The Principles of Philosophy, or, the Monadology. In Philosophical Essays, Philosophical Essays (pp. 213–225) (R. Ariew and D. Garber, Trans.). Hackett.

Martin, S. (2007). The Absolute Artwork Meets the Absolute Commodity. Radical Philosophy 146, 15–25. Retrieved from https://www.radicalphilosophy.com/article/the-absolute- artwork-meets-the-absolute-commodity

Robinson, J. (2018). Adorno’s Poetics of Form. SUNY Press.

Published

2023-05-31

How to Cite

Benčin, R. (2023). Art between Fetishism and Melancholy in Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory. Estudios De Filosofía, (68), 31–43. https://doi.org/10.17533/udea.ef.352426

Issue

Section

Original or Research articles

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