Introducing Post-modernism

Modern comes from the Latin word ‘modo’, which means ;just now’.

Paul Cézanne: the view contains the viewer

He revised realism to include uncertainty in our perception of things. Representation had to account for the effect of interaction between seeing and the object, the variations of viewpoint and possibilities of doubt in what one sees. Unified field theory that must underlie the variability of perception.

Postmodern therefore literally means ‘after just now’. Postmodernism thus understood is not modernism at its end but in the nascent state, and this state is constant. Postmodern art arises from this dilemma of ‘just now’ negating the preceding ‘just now’.

Russian artist Kasimir Malevich who presented the unpresentable Sublime by painting a white square on a white background.

To appreciate a work of art we need to bring with us nothing from life. – Clive Bell, British art critic

Art can only progress towards its own self-annihilation.

We are living what has already been lived and reproduced with no reality anymore but that of the cannibalised image. (image consumerism)

It seems that the genealogy of postmodern art can only be disconnected from the modern in theory. Theory is not in this sense a culmination but a negation, literally, an ‘end of art’. Jean Baudrillard and his Simulacrum: the representational image-sign goes through four successive historic phases (‘it’ being the image):

1.  it is the reflection of a basic reality.

2. it masks and perverts a basic reality. (e.g. the classical pre-industrial phase where an image is a counterfeit of reality. Art imitates life.)

3. it masks the absence of a basic reality.

4. it bears no relation to any reality whatever – it is its own pure simulacrum. (e.g. the postmodern simulacrum of a pair of trainers with an Air Jordan ad slogan that says ‘Get some get some get some’). Here he means that the border between art and reality has utterly vanished as both have collapsed into the universal simulacrum. Reality becomes redundant and we have reached hyper-reality in which images breed incestuously with each other without reference tor reality or meaning. How is it possible to arrive at the nullification of reality, even ‘in theory’? And what is the genealogy of a theory that leads to such a radical conclusion?

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