Mimesis Thorey Essay

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Art is imitation only to the extent to which it is objective expression, far removed from psychology. There may have been a time long ago when this expressive quality of the objective world generally was perceived by the human sensory apparatus. It no longer is. Expression nowadays lives on only in art. Through expression art can keep at a distance the moment of being-for-other which is always threatening to engulf it. Art is thus able to speak in itself. This is the realization through mimesis. Art's expression is the antithesis of 'expressing something.' Mimesis is the ideal of art, not some practical method or subjective attitude aimed at expressive values. What the artist contributes to expression is his ability to mimic, which sets free in him the expressed substance." [1] Adorno's critique of mimesis proposes a method of dialectical reflection which goes against the grain of the positivistic tendency of modern consciousness, which has a tendency to substitute means for ends. "Art's expression is the anti-thesis of expressing something," for Adorno, implies that it remains non-identical to a tendency that is related to the exigency of commodity exchange. It resists the functional aspect of being-for-other which "threaten(s) to engulf" its existence. Artistic expression cannot be substituted for something else. It cannot be absorbed into the identity of something that can be substituted for itself. Artistic expression resists absorption into a method. According to Adorno, both Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit and Marx's Capital, the "great dialectical texts of modern dialectics," use the methodology of reflection, but it is a method which performs a very different purpose. The method to which the object is now being subjected is derived from the positivistic symptoms of modern methodology, whose aim is to substitute means for ends. Instead of relying upon the

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