The Different Faces of Post-Modernism
Postmodernism blends old themes with new contemporary issues to create beautiful artwork that commands, questions, and captivates all viewers to participate in discovering its inner meaning. Along with an inner meaning and beauty, it is used as a form of communication that is directed towards social, political, and cultural problems within the world. An architect Robert Stern says,The fundamental shift to post-modernism has to do with the reawakening of artists in every field to public responsibilities of art. Once again art is being regarded as an act of communication. (Wilkin, Schultz, Linduff, Art Past Art Present, p.579)
The postmodern era emancipated its artists from old traditional barriers that bounded them. The belief that everything could be used to produce art was used to the fullest. For instance, mediums like photography, computer animations, and movies. Even non-precise metals like steel, aluminum, and iron were used along side with gold and silver. Technology was a great medium that was also utilized, as newer and improved technology was developed some one would utilize it to immortalize his/her artwork.
One of the well-known artists of the postmodern era was Jean-Pierre Yvaral. Jean utilized technology called digital imaging to manipulate pictures and transform them into his own creative art pieces. A well-known publicized piece Jean created was called Mona Lisa Synthetisee. (Fiero 4th Edition The Humanistic Tradition p.159) Blending the old with a twist of the new, Jean took the Mona Lisa, which was created by Leonardo da Vinci and cropped out only her head and digitized it to produce a perspective like image. This image had four sides, right and left, top and bottom, and a centerpiece that commanded attention because it connected all four sides. It was the focal point of the digitized portrait. His style is unique in that he chooses five major squares to encapsulate her face, but also used many little squares of various colors to blur her image. Jean resembles traditional art by making the center square a focal point. Again mixing the old, with a new twist. This represents to me a person with several different faces each with different personality within one formed entity. Jeans Mona Lisa breaks down the cultural barriers that separate different cultures of today. Perhaps each square represents one or many different cultures striving for completeness and unity, which is represented by the middle image, which could be another translation. Politically it represents freedom of choice and democracy, which has come a long way since early 1900s. Each person in the image has their own opinion and when each opinion is combined and agreed upon then the real power lies within numbers, which is how our political structure is structured.
Another artist of the postmodern era, one chosen by election to represent the majority, is a poet name Octavio Paz born in 1914 in Mexico. Paz along with many others believed that language could make oneself be very expressive. His poem called To Talk expresses the feeling that mortal man has special powers that no other being even the gods do not possess. If this poem was written back in the medieval or early times Paz would have been persecuted by the church. Due to the separation of the church and state Paz and his poem will go unharmed. Politically poems with such content cause no harm because there is no direct attack on any religion or groups of people. Paz was correct to state that it is human to speak, because speech separates us from the animal kingdom. Without speech today, we would not be able to communicate with another human. Speech is a divine power because it allows us to break down cultural barriers, by having the ability to share and explain thoughts and feelings to another.
The postmodernism era produced many more than the two fine artists that I have just discussed. There is one thing that all of them have in common though, each and every piece of work they produce has similar qualities. They all communicate a message that handles social, political, and cultural problems. How they communicate their message is solely up to the artist, because they are not bound by limitations, but there own creativity.As for the next movement it too will be filled with influences of the postmodern era as the influences of previous movements have influence postmodernism.