"Total Artwork"

Don't f*&# with total!

It sounds like a bran cereal collage. But it IS a collage of sorts, or more like a confluence. [Richard Wagner] wrote passionately about this theory in his 150-page essay, The Art-Work of the Future, referring to dance, tone, and poetry as the “three primeval sisters” without which no work of art is complete.

Contemporary art in particular (culture in general) seems so frenetic, passed off in such a hyper-focused-yet-discrete/radar-blip fashion. Wagner, in contrast, seems like a megalomaniac (he was, at least partially defensibly so.) But why shouldn't we aspire to a more comprehensive vision of what it means to make great art? The guy was obviously far from perfect, but he matched vowel to pitch in such a way as to (somewhat) elude "the soprano problem" (in order for the voice to resonate at higher pitches, the singer must distort certain vowels.) This is more than a fleeting, trend-focused dedication to craft - this is vision! demonstrable technical prowess!

Moral of the story: things that take 30 years to finish are often worth the work; such dedication and longevity of focus is a rare rare thing indeed; I still do not like Wagner. Not one bit. Not even a little.


Popular Posts