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This is the first of three articles about kitsch written by Hugo Salazar. After analyzing the etymology of the German word Kitsch [verkitschen: to be conned or duped] and its relationship to expressions in other languages, he deduces its semantic breadth, “which allows for a poly-univocal use of the word.” Salazar suggests defining it as a socio-cultural and socio-aesthetic phenomenon related to certain social groups. Quoting Freudian theory, he proposes referring to the most basic repressions to explain the existence of a “sexual and erotic kitsch.” The author states: “When the (sexual) object is not immediately satisfied, it is replaced by a substitute (a kitsch attitude, object, or situation) that in turn provides an erotic substitute (kitsch experience), a degraded, cheap feeling.” Paraphrasing Hermann Broch he warns that, just as in the art field, “no eroticism, no sexuality is immune to this drop of or dip into kitsch.” He concludes by sensing that in the future it will be possible to determine “to what extent this kitsch spirit is part of the sexual behavior of the Peruvian people.”
Hugo Salazar del Alcázar was a poet, researcher, writer, social communicator, and cultural commentator. Most of his writings and activities were concerned with the theater in Peru, but he was also interested in the visual arts and its phenomenology. He contributed to a number of local magazines and publications, and was one of the first to write about kitsch, trying to understand the connection between mass culture and the urban aesthetic expressed by migrant groups in contemporary Peruvian society. Though he was not an artist in the strictest sense of the word, he was a member of several groups, such as Signo x Signo (1979-81), with which he collaborated on a number of different projects.
[For additional information, see the following articles by Hugo Salazar in the ICAA digital archive: “Kitsch, cultura y sociedad” (doc. no. 1142948); and “El kitsch sexual: 2 objetos” (doc. no. 1142964)].