Modernism And Postmodernism

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Introduction In order to discuss the quintessential role of the photographic medium and the way that it was utilized in postmodern times it is essential, on the first place, to get familiar with the meaning of postmodernism. Generally speaking, in its shortest explanation, postmodernism can be understood as a reaction against modernism. “ To speak of postmodernism means that we have some idea of that which has been superseded- modernism.” (Edwards in Wells: 2003: 188). Following this path it is essential then to understand the meaning of the era that was before- modernism, which shaped the modern times and in turn led to the birth of postmodernism. Both of these phenomena were influenced by current economic and political changes and it’s meaning applies to a broad intellectual, cultural and artistic movement that generally includes art, architecture, music and literature. From the artistic perspective the main idea of those movements was to present the spirit of the new era. Both of these periods stand for different values and are often perceived as a contra dictionary to each other. Nevertheless photography was an important part of both of these movements and was used by artists as a respond to rapidly transforming world through artistic expression. According to Douglas Crimp (cited by Andy Grundberg in his essay titled “ The Crisis of the Real. Photography and postmodernism.”): “ (…) postmodernism in the art world means something more than simply what comes after modernism. It means, an attack on modernism, and undercutting of its basic assumptions about the role of art in the culture and about the role of the artists in relation to his or her art” (Grundberg in Wells 2003: 166) From the point of view of modernism and postmo... ... middle of paper ... ...e world. (e.g., Fig.2) Fig.2 image source: http://www.softpyramids.info/post/30957382264/barbara-kruger-surveillance-1983 Like other postmodern artists, Kruger uses appropriated images and mixes them with the text. Black, white and red, these colors are dominant in the artist work. Above example tilted ‘surveillance’, is her respond for controlled, modern, environment in which we live. From the rich artists oeuvre it can be concluded that her work is a strong respond for political reality and call for social change. Noteworthy is the way in which Kruger promotes her work, namely by using mass media, which in themselves are target of criticism of the artist. Her statements are strong and short nevertheless its message can replace a thousand words. What the most important is that Kruger urges for discussion and for reflection on the raised themes.
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