PRINT September 1983


LIKE THE PREVIOUS EXHIBITIONSLe macchine celibi” (The bachelor machines, 1975) and “Monte Verità” (Mount Truth, 1978), Harald Szeemann’s latest expository tale, “Der Hang zum Gesamtkunstwerk” (The tendency toward the total art work), offers prodigious riches. In this case Szeemann’s complex variations are on the subject of the “Modernist” esthetic of Total Art, whose beginnings were marked in the mid-19th century by German Romanticism and the works of Richard Wagner. Those endeavors proposed an indissoluble link among the components of “spectacle” (dramatic action, music and sound, color, words, and so on), a link which reinforced the relationships among the various sensory languages. The goal was an optimal unity of the arts. This sort of fusion of components—from orchestra to stage, audience to actors, costumes to sets, musical score to singing—created a continuity among separate

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