Unity of Art in Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory





Theodor Adorno, prehistoric art, mimesis, end of art, unity of art, culture industry, avant-garde


The article reconstructs the concept of the unity of art contained in Theodor W. Adorno’s aesthetic theory. This recognized theorist of modernism and the musical avant-garde also commented on prehistoric art. On the basis of his analyses in the Paralipomena to Aesthetic Theory regarding the sources of art, the study indicates moments that allow one to perceive the common basis for the artistic works of the Paleolithic Era and modernism. The basis is ‘mimetic comportment’ which does not consist in reproducing the presented world but in generating autonomous spaces. This competence of art became endangered in the 20th century, facing the growing dominance of ‘instrumental rationality’. Art included in the circulation of the culture industry lost its critical potential. The avant-garde volte-face was interpreted by Adorno as the response of art to attempts to neutralize it.


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