Thursday, 9 December 2010

Post Modernism Analysis Task

 Post Modernism Definition;

Term used from about 1970 to describe changes seen to take place in Western society and culture from the 1960s on. These changes arose from anti-authoritarian challenges to the prevailing orthodoxies across the board. In art, postmodernism was specifically a reaction against modernism. It may be said to begin with Pop art and to embrace much of what followed including Conceptual art, Neo-Expressionism, Feminist art, and the Young British Artists of the 1990s. Some outstanding characteristics of postmodernism are that it collapses the distinction between high culture and mass or popular culture; that it tends to efface the boundary between art and everyday life; and that it refuses to recognize the authority of any single style or definition of what art should be. 

Wolfgang Weingart. (Swiss, born 1941)

David Carson


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Post Modernism Lecture Notes 8/12/2010

Introducing post modernism

Initially born out of optimism, an aspirational reaction to World War 1, with a view to harnessing technology to improve peoples lives,

Ends up doctrinaire, almost blind to obedience to rules, above all.

Form follows function.

Modernism is associated with...

  • Experimentation
  • Innovation
  • individualism
  • progress
  • purity
  • originality
  • seriousness

Fundamental to modernism is the idea of originality. All of modernism design is mostly serious because of the foundations that it is made to build upon the future.

The postmodern condition is characterised by-

  • Exhaustion
  • pluralism
  • pessimism
  • disillusionment

But.... some overlap

Modernism is an expression of modern life/ technology/ new materials and communication. Where as Post Modernism reacts to the new Modern Life. But bother emerge out of ideas created by the modern world.

Jean Tinguely 'Homage To New York' 1960

  • 1917- german writer Rudolph Pannwitz, spoke of 'Nihilistic, Amoral, postmodern men'
  • 1964- Leslie Fielder described a 'Post culture' which rejected the elitist values of modern culture.

Post Modernism dates;
1960s beginnings, 1970's established as term, 1980's recognisable style, 1980's and 90's dominant theoretical discourse, today and simmering.

Uses of the term Post modernism;

  • After modernism
  • the historical era following the modern
  • contra modernism
  • equivalent to late capitalism
  • artisict and stylistic electicism
  • global village, phenomena; globalization of cultures, races, images, capital products

Le corbusier 'Plan voisin' 1927 Utopia and tecnological determinism

Post modernism started with an idea that modernism has failed us.

  • Postmodernism has an attitude of questioning conventions (especially those set up out by modernism)
  • Modern aesthetic


  • A rection to these rules
  • Starts as a critique of the international style
  1. Robert Venturi, Learning from Las Vegas, 1972
  2. Ideas developed by Charles Jencks 1977
  • Only rule is that there are no rules
  • Celebrates what might otherwise be termed as kitsch.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Modernity And Modernism Lecture notes


Definitions from Last weeks Lecture

  • indication: the act of indicating or pointing out by name
  • reference: the most direct or specific meaning of a word or expression; the class of objects that an expression refers to; "the extension of `satellite of Mars' is the set containing only Demos and Phobos"

  • Intention: what you must know in order to determine the reference of an expression
  • an idea that is implied or suggested

Signifier and Signified-

The signifier is the pointing finger, the word, the sound-image.
A word is simply a jumble of letters. The pointing finger is not the star. It is in the interpretation of the signifier that meaning is created. 

The signified is the concept, the meaning, the thing indicated by the signifier. It need not be a 'real object' but is some referent to which the signifier refers. 

5 Modernist Grahic Design Images

Modernism Definition;
 In the field of art the broad movement in Western art, architecture and design which self-consciously rejected the past as a model for the art of the present. Hence the term modernist or modern art. Modernism gathered pace from about 1850. Modernism proposes new forms of art on the grounds that these are more appropriate to the present time. It is thus characterized by constant innovation.

Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes both a set of cultural tendencies and an array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western Society in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Modernism was a revolt against the conservative values of realism.

Below are 5 images I've selected that particularly appeal to me and fit into this movement. They're from a series of German Matchbox designs from the 1960's. 

The reasoning for them being modernist is because that even 50 years ahead of when they were made they are still relevant to current graphic design. Their stripped down aesthetics and simplistic nature is what makes them so effective, for example the third design of the blue eye is a very symbolic icon that sticks in your mind. The techniques that have been used to create them are modern techniques that are still used today so this helps the audience to connect to what they are looking at.


Another skill you can notice being used in the piece above is photo montage, this was very current for the period of time the matchboxes were produced but is a technique that remains to be used throughout design. The piece is universally understandable and has been produced to serve a purpose, there isn't a concept or meaning behind it and just follows the rules of form following function.

This matchbox cover above is my favorite out of the 5 i have collected, I really like the combination of colour within the type and how the 2 tones of blue compliment each other. The typeface and layout work so well because of how minimal they are, new techniques from the time they were made can be recognized, for example having the type and image set out across a grid and the image aligned to flow with the type.