Topics: Art, Postmodernism, Modernism Pages: 6 (1840 words) Published: October 28, 2012
History Essay, Postmodernism

“Many Postmodern artists sought to deconstruct truths, and dominate ideas and cultural forms. Discuss with reference to at least two artists/designers and specifically the techniques they used to achieve these outcomes.”

This academic essay explores postmodern artists who form new perspective and controversy through the expression of their art. Research of various artists including Alessandro Mendini, Andy Warhol, David Ligare and Jenny Holzer were examined to find deconstructed truths and powerful ideas of society of their time. Different material, methods and media’s have been used in postmodern art, such as painting fine art, technology, architecture and fashion. A study of various types of powerful societal changes through time is tackled through art. These changes comprise of gender identity, globalisation growth, political power etc.

The expression of Art has always been influential; many artists use it as a tactic to exploit political truths and ideas. Postmodernism is a “movement reacting against modernism, especially by drawing attention to former conventions” (pg821). This form of art allowed a new way of looking at reality in a society that is constantly reassessing its culture and values. Postmodern art focuses on a mixture of high and low cultures and dominant ideas; it went against repression, sexism, racism, political power, and violence. Deconstructing truths criticises and analyses contemporary issues. These deconstructionist feed on controversy, artists such as Alessandro Mendini, Andy Warhol, Jenny Holzer create colourful and ruinous, luxurious and outrageous artwork. The art allowed radical freedom to design, funny gestures confrontation and occasionally absurd. It was a style that has new self-awareness.

Postmodernism rebelled against modernism; it was an attack on what had come before as it explored and disparaged any unspoken leading concepts and social customs. The disillusionment from World War II heavily influenced postmodern art. The style doesn’t have a clear central hierarchy or organising principle; it uses melancholy, extreme complexity, contradiction, ambiguity, diversity and interconnectedness. Loud colours, bold patterns, historical quotation and whit are used. During the 60s, critical practices of postmodernism were applied mainly in Italy. The idea of ‘Function follows form’ is abandoned. Exaggerated proportion and outrageous texture for the sake of decoration. Designers such as Ettore Sottsass and Alessandro Mendini who challenged social norms and the traditional taste of design.

Italian born designer and architect, Alessandro Mendini played a part in postmodern design. He creates graphics, furniture, interiors, paintings and architectures. His work of ‘Destruction of the Monumento da Casa (Household Monument) is an enlarged photograph of a modernist chair. This literally displays the destroying of the past, the end of modernism and the beginning of postmodernism. It was an attack on what had come before, Mendini brought the chair to a stone quarry and set the chair on fire, photos were captured during the process in 1974. Popular culture, irony, historicism, eclecticism and pluralism are embraced by postmodernism. The artist believed that something new design would grow from the burning remains. One of the most iconic post-modern designs is the Proust armchair by Alessandro Mendini. He chose to add Signac painting as the pattern on a ready-made replica of an 18th century armchair.

American language conceptual artist, Jenny Holzer is famous for her short statements. The postmodern fashion in the 80’s was a time when women were in power and this was mirrored in physicality and clothes. The artist uses modern information to expose and address the politics of discourse. The ‘Abuse of Power Comes as No Surprise’ by Hozler is one of her many controversial artworks. Jenny Hozler worked outside the regular...

References: Heartney. E, 2001, ‘Postmodernism’ Tate Publishing, London
Bevir. M, 2007, ‘Histories of postmodernism’, Routledge, London
Eagleton. T, 1997, ‘The illusions of postmodernism’, Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, UK
Kruger, B, 2006, ‘Barbara Kruger’, ACCA, Southbank, VIC
Bulholh, B
2005, ‘Postmodern studies’, Rodopi,
Post Modernism, 2012, Whitehouse Design, Australia 18/6/12
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