“offering instantaneous emotional gratification without intellectual effort”.
Walter Benjamin, German philosopher, cultural critic and essayist, on the subject of Kitsch.
It's both fun and cringeworthy at the same time - how can you not love it?!
Love it or hate it, you've likely smiled (disguised by a smirk) at the odd piece of kitsch. That little shiny ornament your
Gran used to let you hold, if you were good. Or the butterfly stuck to the side of the typical Kiwi weatherboard bungalow. Kitsch has a wonderful element of the sentimental attached. Nostalgic memories from childhood and days gone by. Interior fashion items that once looked WOW, now look wow, in a whole different way 30 years on. Fashions version of hindsight cruelty.
To those who appreciate and enjoy Kitsch, the definitions sound scathing and a little hurtful.
Kitsch is a German word, that is generally used to describe objects that are considered tasteless or common while aspiring to high art. The word Kitsch roughly translates to the English “tacky”.
art, objects, or design considered to be in poor taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but sometimes appreciated in an ironic or knowing way. "the lava lamp is a bizarre example of sixties kitsch"
Low-brow style of mass-produced art or design using popular or cultural icons.
Something of tawdry design, appearance, or content created to appeal to popular or undiscriminating taste
Thankfully, The Urban Dictionary does have a more appreciative view in this definition;
As an art movement, lifestyle, or literature and film genre, kitsch is pleasingly distasteful. It's melodramatic, overdone, gaudy and tacky or sentimental and folksy. It's so bad that it's cool. Your cat might attack it, but it's hot. And, no, Martha Stewart and Jerry Springer are NOT bad enough to be kitsch. At all. Paris and Nicole though...
You're looking rather kitschy today, your grandma's neckace is hot. I saw an awesome Andy Warhol knockoff at the gallery yesterday, it was so kitsch. I couldn't get it though, I didn't have the cash. *sounds dissappointed*
by Avant-Garde Hero August 15, 2004
LOLA & ALICE'S KITSCH LOVE AFFAIR.
It's true. It can not be denied. We love Kitsch. Not all of it, but certainly a lot of it.
Our love affair with flamingos and 3D Fruit, out 'Kitschen' range, definitely a kitsch vibe.
Kitsch is fun. It's usually bright, gaudy and in slight bad taste. It most definitely makes people smile. Often people get a misty look in their eyes as they remember back to when their parents had one of those.
Nostalgia is a mainstay of what we're about. Nostalgia is very much a big part of what makes up Kitsch. Lots of memories go hand in hand with the nostalgic beauty that is kitsch. The faded, yellowed photographs of tinsel Christmas trees in front of the most fabulously garish wallpaper and clashing setee. But it's the memories associated with the image that are the wonderful bit. The beauty of kitsch.
IT'S A TREND
Not that long ago, in 2018 or there abouts, pineapples, flamingos, toucans and watermelons, they were everywhere, on everything, including blow up versions for pool lounging. The fashion trend many wouldn't even have realised that they were embracing was Kitsch, because these motifs and items were seen as cool and trendy. Suckers! Those in the know have always appreciated them.
Interior decor has continued to embrace kitschy items, from flamingo watering cans to ceramic miniature head vases and plant pots. Aha, kitsch! The craze of Frida Kahlo printed on everything, kitsch! Surrealist merges of styles which become cool, yet there's something about said item, that you wouldn't be game enough to have in your home. What would your friends think?!
Today, the idea that something can be “so bad it’s good” is so common that the term “kitsch” no longer retains the negative associations it once did, and artists today often create works that embrace bad taste and question the high- and lowbrow division in art.
LOCAL Kitch Finds to Buy NOW!
To show you Kitsch isn't all horrid memories. Here are some fabulous local finds you can buy right now! Of course the links attached. You know these are cool items your friends would be envious of. #supportlocal
Kitsch, it's not that bad is it! - yes, that's a statement. It's good, REAL good!
Just like any piece of kitsch is a statement. Kitsch covers so many areas of visual life. Art, fashion, even music, interiors, books, architecture and Kiwiana. Love it or loathe it, it's part of the Kiwi DNA... Paua shell house anyone....
I Hope you enjoyed this smiling instalment from the Journey of Lola & Alice.
Let us know what you think in the comments and share with your kitsch loving friends.
Until next time