new masters old ceremonies

It was not exactly a theory about death as a poetic vision. The Wasteland of T.S. Eliot was intellectual poetry, somewhat forced and faked, stylistic and stylized with somewhat of a punitive moral air to it, self-inflated and meaningless For Eliot death is something detached from life; disconnected and abstract its inevitablility seem repressed as if its to be found within the context of the traumatic or simply a profound fear of looking death in the face. Like a lyrical Heidegger, there is some kind of implicit complicity with the ruling class, a kind of forced and faked empathy with the unwashed. The entire ilk of sellout and shillers needed a stick of tnt up their arse: in the work of Dix, his figures are vigorous, and like Bruegel’s they act out a life the passive bourgeois audience lacks and avoids; Dix raises the emotionally dead with an intense  daring aliveness,unpredictable spewing its bile like a spring of lava from a volcano.

---For Dix gets to the roots of death, showing us how rooted in life it is -- showing us more grisly skulls than we care to see, stripping flesh to the bare bone. Goya stays on its bleak surface, rarely venturing and confronting its skeletal truth. Dix’s Nude (for Francisco Goya) (1926) makes the point succinctly: the beautiful refined body of Goya’s nude Maja has become ugly, vulgar, and beastly, as her claw-like right hand confirms. She is ready for sadistic action, her hairy crotch more crudely naked and claustrophobic -- hardly inviting -- than even Courbet imagined it in the Birth of the World.--- Read More:

Donald Kuspit:his ritualistic poems tend to read as sermons for the masses, promising to raise them up by telling them how low they have sunk, and thus how futile their existence is, how full of self-loathing and suffering it ought to be) — was ruthless intimidating prose in Dix, haunted by real death and suffering (not Eliot’s stylized and stylish — not to say forced and fake — numbness): Dix’s work belongs to the German tradition of the Triumph of Death — some of his images have a clear affinity with Baldung-Grien’s depiction of it — while Eliot metaphysicalizes death, as though it was not the brutal, factual, inescapably physical event it is. For Eliot death is an enigmatic idea rather than an everyday reality, a theme worthy of speculative poetry and philosophical discussion, while Dix makes its real effect — its destructive effect — on the body explicit. In a sense, Eliot compromises death by thinking about it, as though thinking would soften its blow, but Dix has seen it in action — experienced it up close and first-hand — in war. Death cannot be softened by philosophy and poetry: there is no consolation — conceptual and esthetic consolation prize — for it. Read More:

Otto Dix. Grosstadt.---However different the societies they picture, both Dix and Toulouse-Lautrec show us a society in which the proletariat underclass serves the bourgeois upperclass. In Dix, the poor proletariat serves in the military -- as he did as a machine-gunner in World War I -- that supports the wealthy bourgeois, among them the fat cats pictured in the central panel of his masterpiece Grossstadt (1927-28)--Kuspit image:

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the archduke’s,
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
Frisch weht der Wind
Der Heimat zu.
Mein Irisch Kind,
Wo weilest du?…
(T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland. Pt.1 The Burial of the Dead)

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