Sunday, 26 August 2012

Anish Kapoor

"You lie on a couch and deposit material in the space between you and the analyst. You create a third space and that is one of the interesting things about how and psychoanalysis link with each other." (Anish Kapoor, Artist)

'Tall Tree and the Eye' (2009) Anish Kapoor

 Questions from the Cadi Blog:

I. Research Kapoor's work in order to discuss whether it is conceptual art or not. Explain your answer, using a definition of conceptual art.
According to Wainwright (n.d.):

      Conceptual art, also called post-object art or art-as-idea, artwork whose medium is 
      an idea (or a concept), usually manipulated by the tools of language and sometimes 
      documented by photography. Its concerns are idea-based rather than formal. 
      (para. 1)

Kapoor's work definitely fits into conceptual art. Even though he was not fully involved in the process and making of his works, it is still his design. His works are more ideas and concept based. Rather than the skill of the artist, its the thinking of the artist. Sol Lewitt, who was considered a Master of Conceptualism, have said "ideas alone can be works of art; they are in a chain of development that may eventually find some form. All ideas need not be made physical."

II. Research 3 quite different works by Kapoor from countries outside New Zealand to discuss the ideas behind the work. Include images of each work on your blog. 

'Sky Mirror, Red' (2010) Anish Kapoor

'Sky Mirror, Red' is a work Kapoor installed in Kensington Gardens, London. The work is about creating a fake reflection of the sun on the lake. The shape was also inspired by scientist in the past using telescopes to look at astronomy. The work's intention is also to disturb the peace and harmony of the 'blueness' of the lake and sky by adding a touch of red. Because the work is out in the natural environment, Kapoor have also added "Art for the dogs and for the swans!...Art for all." (2010, para. 8)

'Turning the World Upside Down' (2010) Anish Kapoor

The work 'Turning the World Upside Down', is pretty much like what the title says. The work is installed in Crown Plaza at Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel. The work shows the viewer a reflection of the world upside down and distorted within the concave structure of the work. The work is about forcing the viewer to participate with the artwork. Looking at ourselves in the mirror surface of the artwork but a different version of ourselves. Almost like the idea of a parallel universe.

'Leviathan' (2011) Anish Kapoor
'Leviathan' (2011) Anish Kapoor

'Leviathan' is big scale sculpture installed in the Grand Palais of Paris, France. The work was inspired by Leviathan, a monster that is so big it can't control its own body. The work is more about the psychological conscious of being inside and inside-out. Outside people see this huge blob-like monster, darkening the surroundings and filling up the space where light can't touch people. But inside people seem to be closer to the light. The hint of light shown through the red reminds us of when we close our eyes in the light. It also brings us back to when we are in our mother's womb. It could also represent our own soul within our shell of body. Whatever the work represents, 'Leviathan' shows that our minds and body coexist.

III. Discuss the large scale 'site specific' work that has been installed on a private site in New Zealand. 

'The Farm' (2009) Anish Kapoor

'The Farm' (named after the site) is a work about becoming a part of the horizon, joining together the sky and land. The work is also like a giant kaleidoscope, it enhances the view of Kaipara Harbour when a viewer looks through the work at one end.

IV. Where is the Kapoor's work in New Zealand? What are its form and materials? What are the ideas behind the work? 
Kapoor's work, 'The Farm' is in a private estate outdoor art gallery, Gibbs Farm, in Kaipara Harbour, New Zealand. According to Fabric Architecture (2010):

      The sculpture is fabricated in a custom deep red PVC-coated polyester fabric by 
      Ferrari Textiles supported by two identical matching red structural steel ellipses that 
      weigh 42,750kg each. The fabric alone weighs 7,200kg. (para. 3)

The idea of 'The Farm' is almost like the representation of Mother Nature. The red, represents the colour underneath our skin. The membrane-like material of the work gives a little movement with the weather, as if its a belly of some giant. Kapoor (2009) have confirmed this idea, saying "I want to make body into sky" (para. 2). 

V. Comment on which work by Kapoor is your favourite, and explain why. Are you personally attracted more by the ideas or the aesthetics of the work? 

'Cloud Gate' (2004-2006) Anish Kapoor
'Cloud Gate' (Detail from below)

I really like 'Cloud Gate' (2004-2006) both for the aesthetic and concept. For the aesthetic, I personally like how its a very modernist and minimalistic design. Inspired by liquid mercury, its very futuristic and blends in with the environment of Chicago yet stands out as an art piece at the same time. The tall buildings of Chicago adds even more the futuristic look to the work. I also like how the bean shape and mirror surface of the work involves the viewer into the piece. The work also makes the viewer come closer to see themselves and the world in several perspective. As the viewer come closer the world also gets a bit distorted and the work seems to jump out.

For the concept, I like the title 'Cloud Gate' because the work seems to bring the whole world closer to our view. Its almost like a false 'gate' to heaven. As you keep getting closer to the work, the world gets distorted. Then you enter below the work, like you are expecting a 'Cloud Gate', but all you see is yourself in several perspectives. I also like how the small concave shadow area below the work separates the viewer from the outside world.     


Henrichy0205yt. (2011, May 27). Anish Kapoor: Leviathan at Grand Palais Paris 
      [Video file]. Retrieved from

Lala, K. (2010, June 2). Giants. SPREAD ArtCulture, 5, 52-55. Retrieved from

Matthews, T. M. (2010). Reuniting the mind and body: Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate and 
      phenomenological experience (Master thesis, The Florida State University, Florida).
      Retrieved from

O Production Ltd. (2010, October 7). Anish Kapoor: Turning the world upside down in 
      Kensington [Video file]. Retrieved from

Tyrrel, R. (2010, November 27). Look out India, here I come. The Guardian, 37-39.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Pluralism and the Treaty of Waitangi

"The Treaty of Waitangi was signed on February 6, 1840, at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands. Forty-three Northland Chiefs signed the treaty on that day. Over 500 Maori Chiefs signed it as it was taken around the country during the next eight months." (

'The Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi' (1938) Marcus King

Questions from the Cadi Blog:  

I. Define the term 'pluralism' using APA referencing
According to Caldwell (1999): 

      Pluralism in art refers to the nature of artforms and artists as diverse. The cultural 
      context of art is all encompassing in its respect for the art of the world's cultures. 
      Inclusion of individuals of differing ethnicities, genders, ideologies, abilities, ages,   
      religions, economic status and educational levels is valued. Pluralism honours 
      differences within and between equitable groups while seeing their commonalities. 
      (para. 1).

II. How would you describe New Zealand's current dominant culture?
New Zealand is quite culturally diverse compared to other countries but is still quite centered around the New Zealand European Western culture; especially their views and ideas in society. However, other cultures have influence this Western culture in New Zealand like the Maori people, who was part of New Zealand historical culture. Other cultures like Polynesians and Asians who are immigrating to the country have also shared their culture with New Zealand. 

III. Before 1840, what was New Zealand's dominant culture?
Before 1840, the dominant culture in New Zealand was Maori. At the time the population were mostly Maori, with a few European settlers who were whalers, sealers, and missionaries.

IV. How does the Treaty of Waitangi relate to us all as artists and designers working
in New Zealand?
Without the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand wouldn't be so culturally diverse as it is today. The Treaty of Waitangi relates to artist and designers in way that it allows them to have the freedom to express what they want in their works, like a freedom of speech and opinions. Because of this multicultural country, artist and designers of New Zealand can draw inspirations from a range of cultures and express them to their liking. 

V. How can globalization be seen as having a negative effect on 'regional diversity' that leads to a 'homogenized world culture' in New Zealand in particular? 
According to Rouse (2007):

      Globalization is the tendency of businesses, technologies, or philosophies to spread 
      throughout the world, or the process of making this happen. The global economy is 
      sometimes referred to as a 'globality', characterized as a totally interconnected 
      marketplace, unhampered by time zones or national boundaries. (para. 1)

Globalization has a negative effect on New Zealand because it exposes the culture to foreign cultures and societies. Expanding products and services like movies, music, and publications can affect and change our culture, traditions and values. New Zealand in particular is already slowly losing their Maori identity. As New Zealand is being more exposed to other cultures and becoming more 'mainstream', fewer Maori are speaking in their language. Language, or Te Reo Maori, has always been important for the Maori people. Because New Zealand is becoming more 'homogenized', the language is becoming an inconvenience. This affects hugely the next generation of Maori who will not be able to speak their language well enough to carry on the culture.

VI. Shane Cotton's paintings are said to examine the cultural landscape. Research Cotton's work 'Welcome' (2004) and 'Three quarter view ' (2005) to analyze what he is saying about colonialization and the Treaty of Waitangi. 

'Welcome' (2004) Shane Cotton
'Three-quarter View' (2005) Shane Cotton

In 'Welcome' (2004) by Cotton, we see the Western Christianity symbol of Jesus Christ and the Maori's head of an ancestor. This relates to the Treaty of Waitangi because its shows two important spiritual symbols of both cultures. Putting these two icons on a page with New Zealand's fantails in between, in a way it resembles New Zealand's split culture. 

'Three-quarter View' (2005) is dominated by the portrait of 19th century British flax trader, Barnet Burns. Burns is a very interesting figure for Cotton to use because Burns physically transformed himself to live with the Maori people in 1830. Cotton's techniques completely takes away all of Burns 'Englishness', only with a small hint of connection from the Goldfinch; a symbol of Western culture's Christianity. The moko on Burns' face and the cosmic targets represents the Maori culture.

These works of Cotton's explores how the Treaty of Waitangi have influenced both cultures and how colonization have created a question in identity. Cotton also questions further the importance of the space between both cultures and where one finds themselves in that space. 

VII. Tony Albert's installation 'Sorry' (2008) reflect the effects of colonization on the aboriginal people of Australia. Research the work and comment on what Albert is communicating through his work, and what he is referring to. Describe the materials that Albert uses on this installation and say what he hopes his work can achieve. 

'Sorry' (2008) Tony Albert

Albert's 'Sorry' is an artwork that was used to commemorate the apology made by the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, on 13th February, 2008 to the aboriginal people of Australia for 'past mistreatment'.

Albert still questions the representation of the aboriginal people through souvenirs. Most of these 'kitsch' items that Albert has collected are made by Western people to appeal to the mainstream Western society. They are manufactured, they are not what the culture truly are. By placing them on this text it is almost like he is bringing history and the aboriginal people back to the white world. Even though the works represents the emotions and sadness of the aboriginal people, its not a true representation of the culture.

The text shows the apology made by Rudd, but there is still real change in society to be made.

VIII. Define the term 'kitsch'. 
According to Rugg (2002):

      Yet, despite its status as a source of pleasure for a mass audience, kitsch is typically 
      considered a negative product and used as a pejorative statement. It is seen as a type 
      of creation that reaffirms rather than challenges the collective norm, a source of sheer 
      entertainment in opposition to the elevated perception generated by high art. (para. 1)

Kitsch can be used to describe things that are tacky, tasteless, and poor quality. Originate from German which means 'trash'.  

IX. Explain how the work of both artists relates to pluralism. 
Cotton and Albert's works both relates to pluralism because both artists' works contains more than one culture. Cotton uses the Maori culture with New Zealand European to show the history of New Zealand and what the Treaty of Waitangi have left for the future generations. Albert uses aboriginal souvenirs to show the apology of Europeans for what they have done to the aboriginal culture and what is still needed to be done. Neither artists' work has a dominant aspect or culture in their works. Both artist looks at what is important between the spaces of both cultures, and how this will continue on for the cultures in the future.  


AUT University. (2012). Academic literacies in visual communications 2: Resource book.
      Auckland, New Zealand: Lyceum Press for AUT University.

Lai, J. C. (2010). Maori culture in the modern world: Its creation, appropriation and trade.
      Retrieved from

Nationalgalleryaus. (2010, December 16). 87 149998 - Shane Cotton 'three-quarter view'
      2005 [Video file]. Retrieved from

Queenslandartgallery. (2010, December 20). Tony Albert 21st century: Art in the first 
      decade [Video file]. Retrieved from

Te Wiata, J. E. (2006). A local Aotearoa New Zealand investigation of the contribution of 
      Maori cultural knowledges to Pakeha identity and counselling practices (Master thesis, 
      The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand). Retrieved from

Monday, 6 August 2012

Kehinde Wiley and Inter-textuality

"Kehinde Wiley’s portraits of African American men collate modern culture with the influence of Old Masters. Incorporating a range of vernaculars culled from art historical references, Wiley’s work melds a fluid concept of modern culture, ranging from French Rococo to today’s urban landscape. By collapsing history and style into a unique contemporary vision, Wiley interrogates the notion of master painter, “making it at once critical and complicit "." (National Portrait Gallery) 

'On Top of the World' (2008) Kehinde Wiley

Questions from the Cadi Blog:

I. Find a clear definition of Intertextuality and quote it accurately on your blog using the APA referencing system. Use your own words to explain the definition more thoroughly. 
In simple terms, 'Intertextuality' is a way a text is referred to, influence, inspired or related to another text. According to Ward (1997):

      One way of understanding this term is as a sort of environment of texts in which an 
      author works and from which she or he draws. Whatever original idea an author might 
      have, certain conditions must be in place in order for these ideas to 'happen'. An 
      important aspect of these conditions is the face that his or her text, and even the desire 
      to produce it, exists inescapably in relation to a vast number of other texts, mostly other 
      authors. So no texts sits in a vacuum or speaks its won tongue. Authors have to get their 
      ideas from somewhere, and readers can only read in the light of what they have seen 
      before. (p. 162-3) 

II. Research Wiley's work and write a paragraph that analyzes how we might make sense of his work. Identify intertextuality in Wiley's work.  

'After Titian's "The Penitent Mary Magdalen"' (2009) Kehinde Wiley with 'The Penitent Mary Magdalen' (1555-1565) Titian
'Ice T' (2005) Kehinde Wiley with "Napoleon on his Imperial throne" (1806) Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres                     

Wiley mostly paint portraits of African-American men in highly decorated and classical ornamental backgrounds, which contrast with the figures, who are wearing the latest hip hop street clothing. The poses of Wiley's black males and techniques are based on paintings of old masters like Titian and Ingres.  

To make sense of Wiley's works, we need to go back to the Renaissance and the Neoclassical art movement. During these two eras, paintings were mainly focused on powerful white men or important religious figures. Intertextuality occurs when Wiley replaces these important Western figures with black males. Sometimes Wiley will reference the original painting in the title, like 'After Titian's "The Penitent Mary Magdalene". But with paintings like 'Ice T', a viewer will need to know Napoleon's painting by Ingres to understand the figure's pose and background. By replacing the original figure with black men, Wiley gives them the same power and authority that the Western figures had to his 21st century subjects. 

III. Wiley's work relates to next weeks Postmodern theme "PLURALISM" . Discuss how the work relates to this theme. 
According to Ward (1997):

      At its simplest, it means preferring the many to one. A pluralistic society allows minority 
      cultures to maintain their own traditions. A pluralistic philosophy acknowledges more 
      than one ultimate principle. A text is not a container for one deep meaning: it is a site 
      for a plurality of readings. A pluralistic artist works in a number of styles and media, 
      without assuming that one is essentially better than the other. (p. 217) 

Wiley's work relates to pluralism because its not just about the one dominant Western society. Wiley uses the Western culture's style, poses, and techniques to give his African-American culture power and dominance in his paintings. Even though black men are his main subjects, there are still a balance between cultures in his works. Another pluralistic element in his work is the mixture of past and present; Neoclassicism and contemporary.

IV. Comment on how Wiley's work raises questions around social/cultural hierarchies , colonisation, globalisation, stereotypes and the politics which govern a western worldview. 
Black men, especially African-Americans, are very stereotyped in the Western view as a culture that promotes fear, danger, and anger. Even more so with black men in tough, street clothing. Wiley challenges this Western view of black men by adding Western elements from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment period to give even more power to these black men. It forms the struggling black men in the streets to heroes.  
The African-American culture has always been considered as part of the lower social class in the social hierarchy especially before the 1950s, where many black people were slaves for the Western 'White' people. Wiley painting his figures in street clothing is very significant, because hip hop was born out of the poorest part of America; where the black people are. Wiley brings these people to the forefront and makes us reconsider about the stereotype that are applied to these men.

V. Add some reflective comments of your own, which may add more information that
you have read during your research.
I really enjoy looking at the contrast in Wiley's paintings. Black men, who are normally considered tough and fearless, are placed in a very classical and ornamental setting; which takes away their fierceness almost completely. His paintings are neither historical or contemporary looking. I think its interesting to re-introduce these iconic paintings of the old masters and remake them to promote a culture that has a bad reputation in society. I do wonder whether he has succeeded in getting his message across to viewers. To me, if one does not understand the context and intertextuality of his works, I would only see it as a humorous piece of work. Even though I do think his works will be an inspiration to his culture and help his culture to pass through the views of Western society.


Columbusmuseum. (2007, December 7). Kehinde Wiley on Today [Video file]. Retrieved 
Ward, G. (1997). Postmodernism. London: Hodder Headline Ltd. 

6lizaliza6. (2008, August 16). Kehinde Wiley on Current tv [Video file]. Retrieved from  

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Hussein Chalayan and Post-Modern Fashion

"Hussein Chalayan falls into the category of designer who doesn't just make pretty clothes or clothes you look at and instantly want to wear (though he does do that too). He wants you to appreciate where they - and he, more importantly - are coming from." (Jessica Bumpus, VOGUE Fashion Features Editor)

'Burka' (1996) Hussein Chalayan
'Afterwords' (2000) Hussein Chalayan

Questions from the Cadi Blog:

I. Chalayan’s works in clothing, like 'Afterwords' (2000) and 'Burka' (1996) , are often challenging to both the viewer and the wearer. What are your personal responses to these works? Are 'Afterwords' and 'Burka' fashion, or are they art? What is the difference?
Fashion is a term that is used to describe a popular style or practice that is mostly used or worn by people. A fashion tends to last for a few years before being replace by another fashion.

As for art there is almost no definition for art. Almost anything can be considered art. In a certain view, artist are the people who decides what is art and what is not. 

In my opinion, Chalayan's 'Afterwords' and 'Burka' belongs more to the art category than fashion. Fashion is something for people to wear. Chalayan's works, even though wearable, will very likely to not be popular. However, these ideas are very interesting. 

In 'Burka' we can see some twist on the Middle Eastern culture. Burka is a full-body garment worn by women of certain Islamic traditions. Burka is "a symbol of shame, uniformity, obedience and confinement" (McIntyre, n.d., para. 1). By changing the amount of covering the Burka provides, Chalayan exposes the standing and identity of these women. This could be considered as a feminist movement for Islamic women. Taking away their oppression and giving them the freedom of showing their body. But this is also taking away they're traditional Burka which is also taking away their culture and identity.

In 'Afterwords' Chalayan combines fashion with furniture - a more futuristic approach to fashion. The idea could have possibly been inspired by refugees leaving their homes. Having to leave their homes quickly in times of trouble, they weren't able to carry much but little important items and the clothing they were wearing.
As we grew into this materialistic world, all we want is more. We have forgotten the days where we only have things that are required. As people possess more objects, they don't realize that they are binding themselves to their place of possessions. Looking at migration birds who move from places to places, in comparison we have very little freedom moving about. This concept of portable furniture turned into clothing is very interesting and could be possible in the near future. This idea could perhaps solve the problem to our fast-moving world.

I see Chalayan as similar to Damien Hirst. Even though both artist uses very different mediums to present their ideas, they still make viewers question about certain issues in society. Art can be fashion and fashion can be art. Art overlaps with many things that we are no longer able to correctly define what is art. Even I though I consider Chalayan's works to be art, who knows whether his works might become fashion in the future?

II. Chalayan has strong links to industry. Pieces like 'The Level Tunnel' (2006) and 'Repose' (2006) are made in collaboration with, and paid for by, commercial business; in these cases, a vodka company and a crystal manufacturer. How does this impact on the nature of Chalayan’s work? Does the meaning of art change when it is used to sell products? Is it still art?

'The Level Tunnel' (2006) Hussein Chalayan
'Repose' (2006) Hussein Chalayan

I personally don't think these projects made a huge impact to Chalayan's way of working. It is definitely not a new concept that artist and designers get commission work. Chalayan is a designer who works with unique materials. These projects could have been a challenge for him, in a way that it is not about what people are wearing. However as an artist and designer Chalayan will be able to come to a solution. 

'The Annunciation with St Emidius' (1486) Carlo Crivelli

'The Level Tunnel' for Level Vodka and 'Repose' for Swarovski can still be considered art at a certain level. Crivelli's work, 'The Annunciation with St Emidius', is similar to Chalayan's work because it is also about advertising. Crivelli's work was like a brochure, advertising exotic objects like the Turkey rugs and special vases. The difference between these two artists' works is Crivelli has more on-hand work than Chalayan's.
Chalayan's works fits in with 'Postart', a term invented by Alan Kaprow to describe the post-modern world's art. Postart is no longer just about the skill of the artist or how visually attractive it is. The new visual category is about "cleverness over creativity." (Kuspit, 2004, para. 1) Even though Chalayan didn't make his works like Crivelli, 'The Level Tunnel' and 'Repose' can still be considered art is because it involves Chalayan's thinking, ideas, and concepts for these work to be produced. It also involves how the viewer sees and experience these works. Otherwise stripping back these works to their main motivation is still an elaborated brochure.

III. Chalayan’s film 'Absent Presence' screened at the 2005 Venice Biennale features the process of caring for worn clothes, and retrieving and analysing the traces of the wearer, in the form of DNA. This work has been influenced by many different art movements; can you think of some, and in what ways they might have inspired Chalayan’s approach?

'The Absent Presence' (2005) Hussein Chalayan

'The Absent Presence' (directed by Chalayan) is a film concerning the issues of terrorism, and how the Government policy is tackling this issue concerning immigrants and asylum seekers. In Chalayan's scenario, non British individuals were to donate their clothing to an institution where a biologist (Tilda Swinton) will extract their cells to examine their DNA sequences. The DNA will tell the biologist how these individuals will react to their surroundings in London. However in the end, the biologist was not able to accurately define who these characters are.

I can see some philosophies of the Enlightenment era in this film. During the enlightenment, it was believed that human life can be understood in the same way the natural world can be understood. Everything including the world was like a machine, it can be manipulated and engineered to be beneficial to the ideal Utopia. The enlightenment also promoted science, technology and the idea of reason, believing that they can be applied to any and every situation. Chalayan could have been inspired by these philosophies of the enlightenment and shows the consequences with this society. Like the biologist, we realized that there is no uniformity of human nature.

The film could also have been inspired by the Industrial Revolution, where many people from rural areas have to move to the cities for a better life. Like the enlightenment, the industrial age believed that man have completely subdued nature. They believed that the ideal future is reality but like any revolution, there were issues and questions that needed answers.

The film also contains elements of Post-modernism, which could have been inspired by the issues of today's world. What is Utopia? No matter what era we are in there seems to be no one universal Utopia. Chalayan probably wanted to show that no matter what era we are in, humans can't win against the natural, even if our technology are advanced enough to extract another person's 'human nature' out of the original clothing. We are in our own reality, we cannot experience another person's reality.
4. Many of Chalayan’s pieces are physically designed and constructed by someone else; for example, sculptor Lone Sigurdsson made some works from Chalayan’s Echoform (1999) and Before Minus Now (2000) fashion ranges. In fashion design this is standard practice, but in art it remains unexpected. Work by artists such as Jackson Pollock hold their value in the fact that he personally made the painting. Contrastingly, Andy Warhol’s pop art was largely produced in a New York collective called The Factory, and many of his silk-screened works were produced by assistants. Contemporarily, Damien Hirst doesn’t personally build his vitrines or preserve the sharks himself. So when and why is it important that the artist personally made the piece?
In my opinion, artists who personally made the work themselves are more involved emotionally, physically and mentally with their piece.
I think it has always been important for an artist to put as much physical work into their piece as they can. The tiny details or mistakes that the artist makes with his hands are what makes the artwork more unique to the artist. 

Conceptual art, where the artist isn't necessarily involved with the artwork besides their representation and ideas, is a very post-modern concern. Allan Kaprow analyses this new movement, saying:
      Those wishing to be called artist, in order to have some or all of theirs acts and ideas
      considered art, only have to drop an artistic thought around them, announce the facts
      and persuade other to believe it. That's advertising. As Marshall McLuhan wrote, "Art
      is what you can get away with." (Kuspit, 2004, p. 64)

He also went on describing artist that are not physically involved with their work such as conceptual artist, as being "self-aggrandizing, socially ingratiating farces, all theory and little or no practice." (Kuspit, 2004, p. 64).

Even though I do favour artist who personally made their own work more, I also enjoy and respect artist that don't too. Going through hundreds of years of traditional art from the Renaissance to The Enlightenment, where art is almost about skill and talent, is getting boring. 

For me its interesting to see whatever work the artist can come up with, whether they personally made the work or not. Because artist are considered 'outsiders' of society, and their work shows their view from their own perspective and the reality they live in.


Baggott, J. (2005). A beginner's guide to reality. London: Penguin Books Ltd.

Francojean23. (2009, April 8). Hussein Chalayan "afterwords" 2000 [Video file].
      Retrieved from 

Hamilton, P. (1992). The Enlightenment and the birth of social science, in Hall, S. & Gieben 
      B. (Eds.), Formations of Modernity. Cambridge: Open University Press (p. 21-22)

Kuspit, D. (2004). The end of art. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  

Monday, 30 July 2012

Post-Modernism with Ai Wei Wei and Banksy

"Its this confusion on what postmodernism actually is that makes any attempt at critiquing it so difficult." (Bryon Clark)

Questions from the Cadi Blog:

I. Define Post-Modernism using 8-10 bullet points that include short quotes.
  • Reflexivity
             "The post-modern artist is "reflexive" in that he/she is self-aware and 
              consciously involved in a process of thinking about him/herself and society in 
              a deconstructive manner, "demasking" pretensions, becoming aware of 
              his/her cultural self in history, and accelerating the process of self-consciousness."  
              (Witcombe, 2000, para. 19)
  • Relativism
             "Relativism is the idea that "anything  goes." It is the position where one has 
              left the belief in absolute truth, and instead embraced the idea that knowledge 
              is dependent on one's perspecitive." (Saugstad, 2001, para. 5-6)
  • Rejection of modernist reason
             "The seemingly anti-modern stance involves a basic rejection of the tenets of 
              Modernism; that is to say, a rejection of the doctrine of the supremacy of 
              reason, the notion of the truth, the belief in the perfectability of man, and the 
              idea that we could create a better, if not perfect, society." 
              (Witcombe, 2000, para. 7)
  • Non-universalist
              "But in postmodernism, society is more fragmented. Belief in the One Truth, or 
               universal criteria, has been substituted by a number of "small stories," and a 
               diversity of criteria." (Saugstad, 2001, para. 9)
  • Pluralist
              "Echoing concerns of postmodern and poststructuralist (see Chapter 5) theory, 
               cultural studies has tended to emphasize polysemy and pluralism: meanings are 
               not received uniformly by a 'mass' audience, they are negotiated by many 
               different groups." (Ward, 1997, p. 56)
  • Irony
              "Irony in postmodernism erases the difference between ideal and real, high and 
               low culture". 
               (Thomson, n.d. "Some ramifications for language and literature," para. 5).
  • Reconstructive
              "Constructive postmodernism does not reject Modernism, but seeks to revise its 
               premises and traditional concepts." (Witcombe, 2000, para. 14)
  • Linguistic Idealism
              "a radical and quite bizarre idea that language contstructs reality." 
               (Saugstad, 2001, para. 12)

II. Use a quote by Witcombe (2000) to define the Post-Modern artist.
 According to Witcombe (2000):
      The post-modern artist is "reflexive" in that he/she is self-aware and consciously 
      involved in a process of thinking about him/herself and society in a deconstructive 
      manner, "demasking" pretensions, becoming aware of his/her cultural self in history, 
      and accelerating the process of self-conciousness. (pg. 24)

III. Research Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei's 'Han Dynasty Urn with Coca-Cola Logo' (1994) in order to say what features of the work could be considered Post-Modernism.

'Han Dynasty Urn with Coca-Cola Logo' (1994) Ai Wei Wei

Ai Wei Wei's 'Han Dynasty Urn with Coca-Cola Logo' is considered a Post-modern artwork because it explores the issues of Postmodernism and contains postmodern values like irony and reflexivity; his view of the current society. The artwork isn't about the skill of the artist or the material, but the ideas and reflection of the current culture; which is what most post-modern art tends to show.

The antique urn is valuable not for the object itself, but the representation of the Chinese traditions, culture and history. By placing a popular Western brand onto the urn, Ai shows that in the present day we are living in a commercial and consumerism culture. This culture is replacing our past traditional ideals. Not many people can tell that this is a special urn, but almost everyone can recognize the 'Coca-Cola' logo. Our culture can be said to be "redefined by branding" (Monti, 2012, "Authorship, Subjectivity, Authenticity, and Value in Modern China," para. 1). 

A post-modern feature of the urn is the play of irony on the urn's value. The urn itself is a valuable object but by placing the 'Coca-Cola' logo on the urn, Ai has devalued the urn. However the logo has made the urn become more valuable but not as a Han Dynasty but as an artwork.

IV. Research British artist Banksy's street art, and analyze the following two works by the artist
to discuss how each work can be defined at Post-Modern.

Banksy is a very popular yet very mysterious graffiti/urban street artist. His works normally focuses on social issues; such as war, poverty, capitalism and the government. He is described by the Urbanist (n.d.) as a "counter-cultural prankster". He is a very post-modern artist because he is 'reflexive'; he is aware of the society that surrounds him. By making marks on city walls and buildings he is trying to get across his ideas and views on the current society. It could also be seen as rejecting modernist reason. The path that the world is going is probably not the ideal utopia for underground people like Banksy, who once said "Graffiti doesn’t always spoil buildings. In fact, it’s the only way to improve a lot of them" (2008, para.29).

'Flower Riot' Banksy

'Flower Riot' is considered a post-modern work because of it's play on irony. The work shows a gang member or rioter throwing a bouquet of flowers instead of something dangerous, which is unexpected especially from the position of the rioter. Instead of making war, he is making peace. This work could also be interpreted in many ways, because of the post-modern pluralist and non-universal society. Is the rioter trying to make peace, or was he already making peace to begin with? This question can also be applied to war and terrorism, like whether they are on the side of justice or not.

'Los Angeles' (2008) Banksy

Again playing with irony, 'Los Angeles' is about a prehistoric man holding a tray of fast food that only exist in present day. The burger, chips and drink automatically reminds us of Mcdonalds. This could be about Banksy's view on our consumerism world. The work seen in Los Angeles is very significant because Los Angeles is a city of culture. However in recent years because of the media and celebrities influences, Los Angeles has become a more idealized place for these celebrities. Banksy might have wanted to show that people in this area are losing their history and culture. This is very post-modern and by going forward with this idealized view, we are like a caveman forgetting how to get food.


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