Friday, 25 November 2011

Barbara Kruger - Postmodernism.

Barbara Kruger, born 1945 is an American conceptual artist. Her work is not as well known to the post-modernist movement such as the work as Piet Mondrian or Francis Berry, however her ideas and work as a conceptual artist are very much part of the postmodernist movement.

Kruger uses black and white images and often red text in much of her work. The text in her work in the 1980s included phrases such as 'Your comfort is my silence' 1981, 'I shop therefore I am' 1987, 'You invest in the divinity of the masterpiece' 1982. The concept behind her work is to question the viewer on feminism, consumerism, desire and classicism, however the very source she obtains the images from are the 'mainstream' magazines which promote everything which she is challenging. Her concept involves robbing the associations we make as a society and using that as central to the irony and questioning she puts across as a challenge to the viewer.

Barbara Kruger states, 'I work with pictures and words because they have the ability to determine who we are and who we aren't.' This quote from Kruger is a good example of how her ideas fit in with that of the postmodernist movement, postmodernism was about questioning the social constructs of the world and challenged the use of such classifications such as 'male vs female,' 'black vs white' and 'straight vs gay.' It was a reaction to society and its constraints, its new found consumerism, technology and its priorities, Kruger herself is reacting to these things within her work. As a conceptual artist her work is very much about the 'big ideas' but in my opinion she not only has a meaningful, challenging concept behind her work, it is also visually successful as a piece of art. I did not choose to write about one piece of her work specifically but to instead, look into how her ideas fit into the concept of postmodernism.

Since the 1990s Kruger has gone on to create large scale 'immersive' video and audio installations; this work continues her questioning of power, control, affection and contempt.

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