Collaborative Form: Studies in the Relations of the Arts

Collaborative Form: Studies in the Relations of the Arts

Collaborative Form: Studies in the Relations of the Arts

Collaborative Form: Studies in the Relations of the Arts

Synopsis

Collaborative form attempts to show the nature and limits of works of art that are made up of two or more artistic forms. The first task of this book is to analyze and interpret a set of combinations. Each chapter treats one collaborative work and attempts to show that the principles of collaboration are the same, whether the components are poetry and graphic works as in Lettera Ambrosa by Rene Char and Georges Braque, poetry and music as in Herzgewachse by Maurice Maeterlinck and Arnold Schoenberg, or more complex sets that include painting, music, dance, lighting, and drama as in Der gelbe Klang by Wassily Kandinsky, Morder, Hoffnung der Frauen by Oskar Kokoschka, and Triad by Alwin Nikolais.

Excerpt

C OLLABORATIVE forms are the direct result of combining two or more different arts to make composite art works. The following study is an attempt to define and explicate this kind of art. While I refer to the combinations and syntheses of the arts that I have chosen to examine as collaborative forms, they have been given other names as well.

In the history of composite art works, beginning with Greek tragedy, no single term has quite sufficed to characterize the variety of intentions and results associated with the synthesis of the arts. Jack M. Stein rightly points out that "since the renaissance, the idea of synthesis has been associated most persistently with the stage, principally opera, which indeed originated in an attempt to revive the form of Greek tragedy." However, with the advent of Romanticism in Germany and England, the ambition of the artists grew and the goal of synthesis of the arts came to include all the arts. William Blake's integration of poetry, painting, and music is as central to the ideal of synthesis in the Romantic sense of the term as the songs and settings of Schumann, Schubert, and Wolf. In Germany, two generations of Romantic writers and artists including Goethe, Schiller, Tieck, Wackenroder, Novalis, Brentano, Hoffmann, and Runge constructed theories and, occasionally, works of collaborative form. The terms they used to describe the synthetic work varied from artist to artist and from text to text. The major philosophical spokesman for the Romantic vision, Friedrich W. J. Schelling, lifted composite art to its highest position in theory when he called for the combination of all the arts into a single new form. Schelling envisioned this ideal synthesis as the most powerful purveyor of the "vision and expression of the indwelling spirit of nature."

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