Saturday, April 3, 2010

Level 1: The Art of Marilyn Manson As A Means Of Provocation

These series of blogs are dedicated to analyze the effect or "side effect" that results from the provocative art of Marilyn Manson, and over the years appears to be sticking to several artistic movements which have in common a break from classicism to the search the expression of the inner being. But beyond being art it becomes almost a mystical experience that can get to the same subconscious.


Entartete Kunst or "degenerate art"


Some fans out there must know that the artistic level of Marilyn Manson has been highly influenced by other movements of the avant-garde (Expressionism, Dadaism, Surrealism, Fauvism)

What do these art forms have in common? In general, their philosophy was to move away from traditionalism and the classicism of some art schools who only saw the expression as a mere representation of reality, and thus make art a search for the true inner self and cause different reactions and feelings.



From the early decades of the twentieth century Expressionism arises as a cultural movement of multiple manifestations, such as painting, cinema, dance, architecture and poetry and has its humble origins in Germany. The main idea for expressionist artists is the feeling of "being alive", so as to emphasize the emotional experience beyond the representation of physical reality.

Flourished in the Weimar era, around the 1920s, its highlighted in the city of Berlin.

The term generally refers to capture much of the emotional problems (i.e:The Scream by Edward Munch)

Stresses in the expressionist use of color and dynamism to represent emotions and subjective interpretations. In a few words they are devoted to make art through the expression of the subconscious.

(Source: Wikipedia)



Twinned with Expressionism, it started by a group known as Les Fauves (French for Wild Beasts), who emphasized a freer execution style, far from the representative or realistic used in Impressionism. It had a very short season between the years 1905 to 1907. Two of the most prominent artists were Henri Matisse and Andre Derain.

The paintings of the Fauves were characterized by very rough strokes and bright colors, while the subject of the picture was simplified and more abstract.

In 1888 Paul Gauguin told his colleague Paul Serusier:

"You see these trees? They are yellow, so paint it yellow, the shade a little blue, paint overseas. These leaves reddish; paint them vermilion."



The multidisciplinary movement emerged in Zurich, Switzerland during the time of the First World War and reached its peak from 1916 to 1922, and whose manifesto was the challenge to the traditions and in response to the ravages of war. Its hallmark was the provocation by the denial and ridicule to what is established.

Meetings were held, demonstrations and daily publications on art and literature. The passion for the arts and culture policy consideration was reflected differently. The movement favored other styles of avant-garde, like Surrealism, Nouveau Realism, Pop Art, Fluxus and punk rock.

"Given is the basis for abstract art and sound poetry, a starting point for performance art, a prelude to postmodernism, an influence on pop art, a celebration of anti-art to be later embraced by the anarcho-political uses in the 1960s and the movement was the foundation for Surrealism." (Francis Picabia, I Am a Beautiful Monster: Poetry, Prose, And Provocation)

Many Dadaists believed that reason and logic of the capitalist bourgeoisie had forced the war. Hence it is understood that would be considered "anti-art"

In fact it is believed that the equivalent of the word "dada" in English is " yeah, right."

In fact here are included two songs that mention some words like that, intentional or accidental?

"1996" and "The Love Song"


anti choice
anti girl
I am the anti-flag unfurled
anti white and anti man
I got the anti-future plan
anti fascist
anti mod
I am the anti-music god
anti sober
anti whore
there will never be enough of anti more

"The Love Song"

"do you love your
"your government?"
(fuck yeah)

Much of the aesthetic that was handled during "The Golden Age of Grotesque" was partly inspired by Dadaism and Expressionism. In fact it emphasized "the grotesque in the modern era".

Other exmaples we can compare it with is the aesthetic of the movie "A Clockwork Orange", where ultraviolence was a must.



Distant relative of Dadaism, come back in the 20s is more known for its visual and literary work.

Among its main features are the element of surprise, juxtaposition and the use of non sequitur (something like "no sense" or pointless)

Its founder, Andre Breton, who had prior knowledge of medicine and psychiatry used the old methods of psychoanalysis of Sigmund Freud. One of the methods that grabbed more attention was that of automatic writing, that is free of inhibitions or self-censorship.

Being highly influenced by the work of Freud in an attempt to delve into the subconscious and set the imagination free because it was believed at that time it bordered on the point of madness or the most obscure. One of its most prominent artists, Salvador Dali is also a favorite of Manson.

I chose this example the video for "Tourniquet" because it makes reference to the corners of the mind.

Another artist Rene Magritte paintings, I make some relation to the mirror, a key element in the analysis of dreams. Compare with this example.

One of the most notable filmmakers of contemporary surrealism, Luis Buñuel is another favorite of Marilyn Manson, for the song "Unkillable Monster" mentions the word "Exterminating Angel" which makes reference to the movie of the same name launched in 1962.

"Sometimes I dream I'm an exterminating angel, traveling executioner from Heaven..."(Unkillable Monster, 2009)

In another aspect, the motion was raised to a more serious political level reaching what became known as the document of "Murdererous Humanitarianism" which was derived from the "black surrealism" that allowed to defend the colonies of blacks and slaves of the time.

At the time Andre Breton also had contact with the remarkable Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, whom he described as "an innate surrealist artist." But Kahlo never admitted being a fan of this movement.

In the lyrics of "Golden Age of Grotesque" is alluded to several expressions that emerged during the period of surrealism.

"We're the low Art Gloominati, and we aim to depress
The scabaret sacrilegends
This is the Golden Age of Grotesque

"So my Bon Mots, Hit-boy Tommy Trons, Rowdy rowdies, Honey-fingered Goodbye Dolls:
`Hellzapoppin, open your Third Nostril
Put on your black face, and your god is gone

(Golden Age of Grotesque, 2003)

It is interesting to add that the writer / director Alejandro Jodorowsky also participated but not directly with movies derived from the "theater of panic" in Surrealism. It is worth mentioning that is another favorite multifaceted artist of Manson.

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