John A. Walker (2001) ‘Cultural Pluralism and Post-Modernism’ from Art in the Age Mass Reproduction pp. 83-86
Characteristics/Key features of Post-Modernism:
- Hybrid of styles
- Ornate/Decoration is acceptable again
- Contradiction and ambiguity
- Incorporation of low and high culture- multiple meaning within a work, understood in different ways depending on knowledge
- Intertexuality- work responds to other work- Parody and Pastiche
- What we buy/consume gives us our identity
- Form and Function isn’t as important- differing from Modernism
- Diversity- multi-racial/cultural
- Increase of street art or art that could not be bough- withdrawal from museum tradition
- Radical freedom in art
- New interest in Ecology, Environment etc
One of my favourite fashion designers is considered a Postmodernist; Hussein Chalayan.
Postmodernism does not divide between high and low culture, it has also sought to fade the lines of feminine and masculine. Chalayan is no exception to this, innovating fashion to the point where it is unrecognisable for purpose or person.
Chalayan’s Burka ‘Between’- S/S 1998
Models wearing burkas of different lengths, even to the extent of covering the face and leaving the body naked. To me, this is automatically challenging the separation of cultures and societies. If you ignore the almost offensive appearance (for some people), Chalayan almost shows a progression of time and the fashion of the whole world in one collection. By removing parts of the Burka, Chalayan is giving the identity of the woman back. It is thought that this could be seen as a way of removing the oppression of Muslim women and giving them freedom within their own skin. Within postmodernism, freedom of expression is a key feature and important for the success of many artists like Jeff Koon.
Tony Cragg- Stack 1975
A stack of everyday objects and ‘rubbish’ piled into a geometrically perfect cube. I love the dramatic nature of the piece and although some feel it isn’t ‘real art’, I find it very impressive. Cragg’s interest in geology and the relationship between humankind and the natural world is a nod to some of the ideas in Postmodernism. The stack itself has a limestone appearance, referencing the way layers of earth are discarded between one another.
Though Cragg has used industrially produced objects within some of the stack, it lacks a mass produced appearance due to the rough nature. This could be seen as opposing the technological themes within Modernism.
Freedom for innovation and choice- unlike the strict uniformity of Modernity
Hierarchies deconstructed- low and high culture combined
Involvement of all cultures, races, ethnicity etc
Collection of all styles and historical references- ‘Cross fertilisation’
Shallow/superficial- not particularly interested in function
style over substance
No real ‘style’- undefinable- ‘sign of divided society incapable of producing consensus’
obsession with the past