Kitsch lithograph of the late 19th century

Kitsch is the antipode of high art and good taste

Kitsch-style house architecture
Kitsch-style house architecture

Kitsch (from the German kitsch – “bad taste”) is an art term used to refer to low-quality, low-quality objects of mass culture aimed at the general consumer. Kitsch is the opposite of high art, devoid of aesthetic value and originality. This word in most cases has a negative connotation and is used to refer to vulgar, vulgar or overly sentimental samples of mass-produced products.

It is a unique cultural phenomenon that captivates the general public with its accessibility and outward showiness. He parasitizes popular images and causes conflicting feelings in people: from admiration to complete rejection.

Soviet porcelain decor set
Soviet porcelain decor set

Features of kitsch

Despite the fact that the word “kitsch” evokes negative associations in most people, this cultural phenomenon is today used in various spheres of human activity:

  • media space;
  • painting;
  • interior design;
  • advertising business;
  • literature; architecture;
  • music;
  • fashion industry;
  • cinema and theater.
Kitsch pig figurine
pig figurine

Kitsch in painting is characterized by a complete denial of authority and a pronounced desire for shocking. In this it is very close to contemporary avant-garde art, but unlike the latter, it does not carry a deep aesthetic and semantic load.

In the advertising industry, kitsch is rightfully considered one of the most effective ways to influence a customer. Provocative and vulgar images are remembered for a long time by the viewer, including at the subconscious level.

For many years, Kitsch has been very popular among representatives of show business.

Kitsch lithograph of the late 19th century
lithograph of the late 19th century

because it causes a heated discussion by the public:

  • extravagant outfits;
  • unexpected actions;
  • provocative statements;
  • shocking star presentations.

In interior design, kitsch has become a full-fledged and fashionable style several decades ago, which is characterized by the following features:

  • an abundance of banal trinkets randomly placed around the room;
  • rough mixing of different, absolutely opposite in their essence styles;
  • excessive amount of decor; aggressive color combinations.

Kitsch is deeply embedded in the everyday life of human society these days. It surrounds us from all sides and is an integral part of the global world culture.

Kitsch garden gnome
garden gnome

Kitsch story

The history of kitsch goes back over 150 years. This term first appeared in the 1860s in Germany to refer to cheap paintings and sketches by Munich artists. Such works were well bought by the petty bourgeois to decorate their modest homes.

Within a few decades, the word “kitsch” began to call any low-quality decor items created according to traditional stereotypes and having little in common with real art. From Germany, the term quickly spread throughout Europe and became generally accepted in Western society.

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, kitsch has significantly expanded its sphere of influence. During the period of revolutionary transformations in art and society, he effortlessly managed to penetrate the cinema, advertising business and theater.

Kitsch angel figurine
angel figurine

In the second half of the twentieth century, interest in kitsch only intensified, which was facilitated by the emergence of new revolutionary styles in the visual arts – pop art and conceptualism. Both of these directions declared principles of creativity that were fundamentally opposite to kitsch.

The adherents of conceptualism denied the importance of form and recognized only the importance of the artistic idea in creating their works. Supporters of the pop art style, in turn, tried to take a fresh look at the mass consumer society and scoffed at its values.

But the emergence of new styles in art did not lead to a decrease in the level of popularity of kitsch among the general population. He still remained in demand in world culture, despite changes in fashion trends and tastes.

Interior design in kitsch style
Interior design
In the Soviet Union, kitsch also became widespread in many spheres of life.

A striking example of its use in architecture can rightfully be considered the dull building of cities with standard high-rise buildings in the period 1960-80s of the last century.

The interior of the apartments of Soviet people was also often dominated by kitsch, which was facilitated by a meager selection of consumer goods. In those days, standard furniture walls, chandeliers of the same type and vulgar decor in the form of a porcelain set “Rybka” in each apartment were pronounced symbols of bad taste in those days.

You can treat kitsch in different ways, but one cannot but admit its enormous influence on modern culture and its relevance in various areas of our life.

A kitsch car in the shape of a woman's shoe
A car in the shape of a woman’s shoe