The Kitsch Trend in Contemporary Aesthetics


Ra’al Ki Victorieux

We could be, or maybe we already are kitsch. This tendency has become a fascination with contemporary cultural products. Take a look around the social media and music video predominant style. Perhaps it is your guilty pleasure or the reflection of your passion; kitsch is here to stay.

Kart Lagerfeld created a stamp for the French Postal Service; in which you can see a Chanel design in front of the Eiffel Tower. The value of the stamp is 75 cents of Euro. Monday, January 12, 2004, this stamp is for sale on France. Just to pass by Karl’s world and web, the Karl Likes and the Karlism will help you to easily understand the kitsch fascination of this contemporary creator.

We could be heroes
just for one day
You, you will be me
No, I won’t
And I, I’ll drink all the time
We should be lovers
We can’t do that
We should be lovers
And that’s a fact.

Elephant love medley. Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor and Jamie Allen.

I write these notes while a listen to a pop-kitsch CD: The soundtrack of Moulin Rouge. I protect myself in order to not get a cold with a kitsch-drink: Tea with brandy in a ceramic cup with the image of Power Puff Girls.


Kitsch is an artistic tendency with a flexible identity. It is related to many words as: pretentious, corny, fashion, glam, mannerism, etc… The term kitsch appears in 1860 in Munich. The word kitsch is a masculine German word and means corny, pretentious. The word kitsching is a feminine adjective that means the same.

But I love you, until the end of time… 

Kitsch is an artistic and aesthetic tendency, that is to say, an art form that has been lasting throughout history, it influences the aesthetics from different art stages. Within this theoretical frame, kitsch is a tendency as expressionism and pop are. Kitsch, since it appears, influences the art and settles himself in it, free from temporary maps.

But I love you, until the end of time… 

Between some kitsch objects, we can mention: The accumulation of ceramics figures in family bookcases, combined with pictures in diverse small and decorative marks. «Exotic and beautiful» replicas of people or animals in natural size, decorating a hall illuminated with great crystal lamps, multiple floral arrangements and furniture in carved wood. Japanese tea service accompanied by a kitchen ceramic kit with gooses for good luck, embroider decorative table cloths covering the furniture and printed paper napkins, sugar buckets and colour candies for the guests.
Have you seen a Kitsch führer? Jo Jo Rabbit Portraits a corny Adolf Hitler.

During his time in power portraits of him dressed as the legendary Siegfried were presented, and appeared in the propagandistic posters of Nazis during the II World War. The called «socialist realism» tried to impose to the artists aesthetic concepts supported in the idea to ennoble people, as symbols workers and farmers, as well as to give a perspective of Gods to the revolution heroes. This imposition gave as result a great number of works in diverse sorts. Many pictures reflect episodes of the life of Lenin, Stalin and Mao Tse Tung in a kitsch aesthetic. These manifestations not only are associated with the aesthetic imposed by the political systems, but they can be present in many elements of everyday life: Lithographies and posters sold by million, cement sculptures that represent antiquity Gods or Christian images, million objects that reproduce masterpieces which pretend to be artistic creations but are cheap reproductions, those are exponents of this aesthetic phenomenon that abounds in any country and media.

There is a kitsch applied to visual arts, cinema and design, theater and music. Kitsch looks for the aesthetic of massive communication media in order to obtain an «aesthetic of masses», generally supThere is kitsch applied to visual arts, cinema and design, theatre and music. Kitsch looks for the aesthetic of massive communication media in order to obtain an «aesthetic of masses», generally supported in bad taste and in the superficial thing. Isn’t so that kitsch is that which aloud to emotions its presence, simple and easy in a world where it seems than the only law is the reason?, maybe kitsch is as the little David in front of the Goliat of the reason establishment?

Orgasm to go or to have here. Performance. Ra’al Ki Victorieux (Sugar Bloom).

Kitsch is applied and belongs to (can be found at):

1.       Manifestations, products and/or services in its majority baroque, ostentatious, ornamental, of majestic appearance, industrialist or artisan, of common use in the daily life.

2.       Art that comes from the popular and pop in its visual references.

I hope that you don’t mind that I put down in words; how wonderful life is now that you are in the world. 

Some series of my visual artwork, as was «Passion» has been denominated kitsch by diverse authors. For example, here I quote Miguel Martínez, published at AZ newspaper, October 16, Culture, page 4C. Xalapa, Veracruz, México:

«Abraham Moles, theoretician of the Sociology of Masses, has defined kitsch as the bad taste, associated with the «aesthetic of consumption» and decorative stridency. The defenders of this current affirm that kitsch also must have a place within the culture and art. The exhibition of Iris s»Abraham Moles, a theoretician of the Sociology of Masses, has defined kitsch as the bad taste, associated with the «aesthetic of consumption» and decorative stridency. The defenders of this current affirm that kitsch also must have a place within the culture and art. The exhibition of Iris seems to confirm it and to demand that place. (…) We should not forget the type of kitsch aesthetics that invades the art of Jeff Koons, executed in collaboration with his ex-wife, Cicciolina, making the most of the scandal and the mediatic pull of their wedding and her fame as porn-star. Similarly, the photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe have come to reach exorbitant prices, not only by the scandal associated to sexual subjects he talks about without any modesty but also for his condition of damn artist aureole by AIDS. The morbid reasons of the photographer Joel-Peter Witkin, aesthetically altered by means of baroque lighting, the technique of black and white and the photographic retouch, have caused that their images often were more popular by the media than by art shows and specialized magazines. Finally, and as a paradigmatic example, we cannot ignore the mediatic work of Orlan performances.»

Although some theoreticians consider kitsch art as a residual product with poor quality –which I will detail with quotes-, actually many successful artists have hegemonic or emergent kitsch proposals, validated by the artistic system.

«The adjective kitsching means vulgar, coarse, corny, pretentious. The verb kitschen, in Spanish, is equivalent to “frangollar”, a word that denotes the action to do something quickly and badly. And verkitschen is to swindle, to give a cat instead of a hare, a negation of the authentic thing, a trinket. The term appears in Munich towards 1860 and was used by traders of that city to designate the artistic pieces of little or null aesthetic value and easy commercialisation.»

Between those who consider kitsch as synonymous of knickknack, I mention Zumbado, Petronio, and Moles:

-“Kitsch has become an aesthetic category to designate pseudoart, which seems art, but it is not.”

Zumbado H. Kitsch, kitsch ¡bang, bang! Cuba, 1988.

“Kitsch is much more dangerous the more well dressed it appears. It is a courteous woman in a lady dress.”

G. Petronio: Letteratura di massa, letteratura di consume.

“Kitsch is much more dangerous the more it appears the client so that all accept it (…) kitsch replaces the pure thing by the impure thing (…) the object always is, at the same time, well and badly executed: well at the level of the well-taken care realization, badly in the sense that conception is always distorted.” 

Abraham Moles: El Kitsch.

It is possible that Zumbado talks in a pejorative way about kitsch, due to the Cuban context he is in, which rejects most of those things related with North American culture as the culture of masses, commercialization, culture pop, globalization, Coke, Mac Donalds, etc.

In what moment the policy ideology stop arguing with its counterpart in policy paradigm and started to fight with the effusiveness of art and reason?

Why does my heart cries? 

Kitsch is a tendency sister of pop, and although is the daughter of the XIX century, previous to pop, it blooms more than ad hoc in XX and XXI centuries with their massive languages, hybrid aesthetics and controversial realities: The production in series of works that seem to be artisan-made and expensive but are cheap and industrial. The reproduction of a masterpiece in a key ring. The copy in a t-shirt of the photography of the poster of a film in a system of veneration of media stars. Pop is one of the vanguards, movement or current of XX century, arises in 1962. Also, since its appearance, it has become a tendency thanks to its enormous popularity. Although pop is a tendency that refers directly to the industrial processes and of massive reproduction of XX century, kitsch takes advantage of the technological platform of multi reproduction that modernity offers, in order to fuse the pop language of XX century with any other tendency or style, in a baroque collage with winks to multiple spectators.

PostPostmodernity appears after the disrepute or decline of vanguards. It arises when the vanguard sense finishes, but not the one of modernity. In it predominates the individual over the tendency or the movement. Postmodernity arises from the disappointment with the failure of modernity to produce a perfect, rational, planned and compassionate world. The modernity dreams were admirable but in the light of contemporary history, they seem ingenuous. Loss of faith was a common currency in perfectly planned societies with technological development in the United States and Europe during the second half of the XX century. In 1990, with the collapse of the communism in the Soviet Union and East Europe and the push towards the deregulation and privatization in the United States and Great Britain, modernism was no more a central force in the economic or political planning. Postmodernity replaces the utopia of modernity in technology and planning with an ironic attitude, making fun of ourselves and in some way with an independent attitude towards culture and progress. Instead of styles of functional and abstract elevation, postmodern architecture freely fuses historical styles with a sense of play and humour. Postmodernity goes for aesthetic diversity and decentralization in the organization. It produces works that make fun of themselves: announcements which make jokes of the people who take adds seriously, and fiction works that expose their artificiality. Irony and self-reference are the stamps of postmodern sensitivity. Postmodern culture is eclectic; it takes and chooses the creative expression of the people of the world, although it is based mainly on the European and North American cultures. Postmodernity and its aesthetic eclecticism, along with globalization that gives vital importance to the media and forms of communication; it is a fertile field for kitsch. And just then kitsch is the king of the games of artifice, manoeuvres and simulation.

Surely kitsch will continue seducing the aesthetic for many years to come.

Kiss & blessings, Kiss Kuss!

Love, grace and transcendence blessings

I hope you liked this article. I appreciate a like, comment, or share. I also invite you to purchase my books at Amazon Kindle.

Thank you.

Ra’al Ki Victorieux

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