Projecting modern culture
‘Aesthetic fundamentalism’ and modern architecture
Pages 13

Nipperdey. The debate about the relationship between social, political,

economic, cultural and artistic modernity is still far from resolved.2 In the case

of Germany, for example, its ‘incomplete modernisation’ has been the subject

of discussion amongst historians for some time, and Matthew Jefferies,

reflecting on the relationship between politics and culture, writes that

‘Without a degree of “modernisation”, “modernism” would have been unthink-

able, yet the relationship between the two was always problematic … ’ 3 This

problematic relationship is the theme of this chapter. The inherently oppositional nature of much of what we have come to

refer to as ‘modernist art’ in relation to its own time and culture has been thoroughly analysed within the areas of painting and literature.4 Whilst critics speak of the ‘literary and artistic subversion of rationalist modernity’5 in modernist art,

the modern movement in architecture is still frequently celebrated as the very embodiment of the modern ‘spirit of the age’. However, the ambivalent nature of this ‘modern spirit’ – itself an essentially modern construct – needs to be analysed further.6