Cultural Institution Blesok • Established 1998
New in Blesok

the art is inside

ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 51 | volume IX | November-December, 2006



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 51November-December, 2006

The fantastic in the works of Srečko Kosovel

p. 1
Marija Mitrović

    As we read Kosovel’s accounts, letters, journals and critical writings,[1] we quickly realise that he regarded the fantastic as a significant and high-profile aspect of art:
     “In the chaos of more clear and less clear views on art – that is attitudes defined in the past, which are instinctively uncertain, yet reach into the future – one can discern three bases on which contemporary art is developing: the impressionist base, the expressionist base and the fantastic base.”
     Kosovel wrote this observation on 23 January 1926 in his review of Gruden’s poetry. The text may have remained in handwritten form, but since it was penned only four months before the poet’s death, it can be considered a mature and cogent statement. Nevertheless, the statement is surprising particularly considering the function that our poet accords to the fantastic. In Kosovel’s view, echoing the theory of Roger Caillois, the fantastic was supposed to provide a significant and unavoidable basis on which develops good-quality and significant contemporary art. He mentions it right after impressionism and expressionism, that is, after the stylistic and conceptual tenets, which literary historians, together with constructivism, consider as the main labels defining Kosovel’s literary production. The fantastic thus occurs here rather like a “substitute” for the expected constructivism, as a third “basis” from which develops the entire contemporary and not only the poet’s personal art.
     If Kosovel understood the fantastic as a basis for contemporary art, what exactly did he designate by this term? Did he still have in mid the dreams, the delirious states, the magical and mythical situations? Did he have in mind extraordinary situations and heroes at odds with the ordinary image of reality? Is perhaps Kosovel’s concept of the fantastic by chance and in theory completely unfounded? Are there any traces in the poetry itself: how far does the fantastic of Kosovel reach?
     Let us first quote Kosovel’s writings on Gruden in their entirety, namely those passages in which he speaks of the essence of contemporary art and the function of the fantastic in it:
     “The impressionist basis of art springs from the spirituality of human beings who observe life in an impressionistic way, that is: they view life in the light of their sensuality. For an impressionist an object is worth only as much as it can influence him. He does not distinguish between these influences and does not seek their similarities or differences, but


1. All quotations from Kosovel’s notes, letters and reviews, quoted in this paper are from the Third book (first volume) of the Collected works of Srečko Kosovel, Ljubljana 1977.

"Blesok" editions 01-93 are also available at CEEOL web site.

By purchasing our titles, you are directly supporting our activities. Thank you!


Visit us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Google+