The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
In this essay the author Hugo Salazar discusses how different social groups in Peru use kitsch or “huachafo” words to express their particular tastes in discriminatory terms. He reviews the evolution of the latter Peruvian expression in the early twentieth century, and then refers to several authors to trace the etymology of the word kitsch. He suggests that, in order to understand the “kitsch” universe, one must first explore the connections between art and everyday life. He then addresses the concept of kitsch used as a substitute for sex, quoting from Freudian theory. He concludes by referring to a morphological analysis of two objects: a glass with a naked woman printed on the inner surface, and a toilet paper holder made of synthetic thread. He notes how people ritualize sexuality, creating myths about it and enshrining it in “simple, everyday” objects that “can be constantly and wistfully handled by sexually repressed societies like ours.”
This is the last of three articles about kitsch written by Hugo Salazar [see the other two in the ICAA digital archive: “Kitsch, cultura y sociedad” (doc. no. 1142948); and “El kitsch erótico” (doc. no. 1142917)].
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.