“We are living in a social-media culture so lobotomised by vanity that it has even become possible for a person to pose outside of Auschwitz concentration camp, as if the railway track were the side of an infinity pool in Bali."
In his curious little book about Flying Saucers, Carl Jung took an interesting detour into the psychology of modern art.
His contemporaries, he said, had ‘taken as their subject the disintegration of forms’. Their pictures, ‘abstractly detached from meaning and feeling alike, are distinguished by their “meaninglessness” as much as their deliberate aloofness from the spectator’.
Artists ‘have immersed themselves,’ wrote Jung, ‘in the destructive element and have created a new conception of beauty, one that delights in the alienation of meaning and of feeling. Everything consists of debris, unorganised fragments, holes, distortions, overlappings, infantilisms and crudities which outdo the clumsiest attempts of primitive art and belie the traditional idea of skill’.
‘It is the beauty of chaos’, he wrote. Art that ‘heralds and eulogises’ the ‘glorious rubbish heap of our civilization’. Art ‘productive of fear’, fit for the ‘epoch of the great destroyer’.