Walter Benjamin (1892 – 1940)
Born in Berlin, the German Empire, W. Benjamin was a literary critic, philosopher, social critic, translator, radio broadcaster and essayist. However my relation with his work began the moment I experienced a glimpse of what he might have felt the day he finally escaped from persecution in Portbou, Spain. This relation led me to dig into his works and discover his translation of “In search of lost time” by Marcel Proust, and also discovered his currently actual aesthetics theory with “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”.
A book that starts quoting a fragment from “Pieces sur l’Art” by Paul Valery in 1931 that could very well have been written a few days ago, which always fascinates me.
The book is mainly a discussion about the difference between art that invites the viewer to contemplate, think and stop for a second; and the mechanical reproduction techniques such as photography, lithography or cinema, that erase the worship in art disconnecting the artist from the work of art, in most of the essay, cinema.
However, topics such as painting’s decay with the proliferation of art galleries in contrast to the everlasting importance of Architecture as an art, which combines both the worship and the experience simultaneously.
A short book full of knowledge and that encourages us to rethink art up to today.