Postmodernism and Its Influence on 20th Century

Postmodernism means the direction of art, which has its origins in the mid-20th century. As the name suggests, postmodernism replaces the previous modernism. It is the culture of information and industrial society, which marked a new stage in the development of art. Therefore, postmodernism had a great influence on it. This paper describes the impact of this trend on the art of the 20th century.

The representatives of postmodernism, with a new worldview at that time, tried to go through the traditional ways of life. At the same time, they did not abandon them, but rather unite all opposites. Postmodernism has no confrontations between certain areas. Every field of activity of postmodernism means that each element complements the new worldview. One of the main principles of postmodernism is open all links, and communication with everyone. This trend rejects the notion of ideology, because ideology is collectively generated value-semantic system located between the man and the world. This system determines the relation of man to the world. Ideology expresses the interests of the group, so it is a way of social unconscious self-deception. All the apologists of postmodernism struggle with ideology, especially with Marxist.


However, postmodernism did not affect the representatives of the political movement as there was no political criticism at its basis. The problem is that the representatives of postmodernism often take into account not the class principle and the previous direction. The main task of postmodernism is the elimination of utopianism. Representatives of this direction refused substitution using art philosophy, religion or policy. However, they refused to analyze of all these spheres of culture. Therefore, in turn, the autonomy of art, led to the independently of social sensitivity, which was free from any manifestations of ideology.

If to talk about literature, it should be noted that this sphere of culture treats the easiest way to postmodernism. Expression of literary thought involves the use of writer’s thinking and poetic language. At the same time, post-structuralism was inadmissible for postmodern concept. Writers were not focused on the description of the events, and discussions about the process of writing a specific paper. This led to the fact that literary novels became similar to philosophical essays, and a description of the flow of the writer’s thoughts caused metaphors and imagery of a literary work.

Refusal of treatment ideology in all its forms has led to the fact that the postmodern world has found a new meaning. Now, the world was described as a phenomenon separate from a human that has no sense and laws. Postmodernism writers tried to use the author-text-reader structure, in order to create some chaos in the story. In turn, this leads to the fact that the contact between the author and the reader became closer. Writers were storytellers of their works, as well as using a variety of techniques to ensure that the reader was on their side. For example, the writers often made fun of mass naivety, stereotypes of the society or a certain ideology.

Video art is another trend in the fine arts, which emerged in the late 20th century. Representatives of this movement did everything possible in order to maximize the use of all the video opportunities. Television began to go out of fashion gradually, which was a consequence of the use of television sets, video cameras and monitors. Directors began to experiment with the films in the spirit of conceptual art. Computer special effects became more and more popular, allowing showing what was previously impossible. The influence of postmodernism in the art of cinema was significant. Visual and performing arts of this trend involves the use of techniques such as the elimination of the distance between the actor and the audience. The creators of certain works have tried to involve the viewer directly into the concept of the product, eliminating the boundaries between reality and fiction. Art forms like performance and happening are prime examples of postmodernism.

It is useful to consider the concept of a happening in more detail. This trend of postmodernism has passed from the creation of aesthetic objects to artistic events, which were implemented by the artist or his/her assistants and spectators. At the same time, the artist was trying to force the viewer to his/her plan of action. The concept of a happening is closely associated with the theater of the absurd. In the cinema and the theater, this performance combines the elements of plot and other complex components, complements the dynamic compositions. Pop art and conceptual art have become the main source of origin a happening, including elements of feminism, and other socio-political and environmental movements.

Postmodernism has penetrated into all spheres of human culture and life. The so-called multiculturalism (international style) has become its integral part (ibid). Now representatives of this trend tried to focus on the art itself, as well as in nature. At the same time, all the advances in science and technology also were taken into account. Architecture has become the main subject of the influence of multiculturalism. Due to postmodernism, the 20th century was marked by the use of new combinations of building materials, as well as the shape of buildings. Now, the architects sought to create more elegant and high-tech structures. However, often they made silly mistakes, ignoring the uniqueness of the local scenery. For example, Hilton Hotels are same in all parts of the world, regardless of the scenery and culture of locations.

Pop art is another consequence of postmodernism. This modernist art movement arose in the 1950s in the US and the UK. The representatives of pop art renounced the usual methods of paintings and sculptures, which often leads to a combination of random household objects or mechanical copies (dummy, photography, etc.), as well as mass print media (comic books, newspapers, and so on). Pop art, along with video art and photorealism marked the removal of all the old aesthetic restrictions, as well as all restrictions between high and low. The representatives of these movements have given to the 20th century a new look at all the things that seemed familiar and at the same time ugly.

A special word must be said about hyperrealism (photorealism), which began to emerge in the last third of the 20th century. This trend combined the unusual natural way that complements the dramatic effects of alienation. A striking feature is the representation of photorealism painting and drawing in a new form – photography. Many parts of the sculpture were tinted casts of living figures. However, in contrast to the other subnets, many masters of photorealism had different effects on the 20th century. Some of them were close to pop art, working in the media, while others used the magical elements in the sculpture.

Conceptual art (conceptualism) is another sign of the influence of post-modernism in the 20th century. This trend emerged in the late 1960s, and marked the transition from the real to the creation of works of art with free ideas (concepts). This trend has allowed looking at art from a new perspective. Now, the work was focused on the involvement of the viewer in the artistic idea. Concepts were often fragments of textual or graphic information in the form of numbers, formulas, graphs, and other visual or logical structures, or in the form of inscriptions and charts, which narrated about the intentions of the artist. Conceptual art also marked social-protest trends that updated the methods of photomontage. However, a little later, these trends were a philosophical contemplation of detachment or self-irony. It should be noted that by the end of the 20th century, such methods of conceptualism were picked up by the media and advertising business, entering the media culture.

It should be remembered that postmodernism has arisen in a difficult time for humanity. World wars, the Cold War, the fall of totalitarian regimes, have led to significant changes in the life of humanity, including art. This led to the fact that post-modernism has its own characteristic negative features. Postmodernists have denied the existence of the objective integrative science of society, arguing that no science is able to use the findings of that society provides. Sociology has been subject to the negative impact of this trend. Often, post-modernists believed humanity powerless against all kinds of dangers.

To summarize, it should be said that postmodernism had an enormous influence on the 20th century. This was due to the increasing complexity and constant expansion of the world. Advances in science and technology have been applied in architecture, music, cinema, art, and so on. This has resulted in exacerbating the role of technology in the arts. In turn, this led to the unification and standardization of art, which is associated with the emergence of new features the works of the spread and strengthening of the role of popular culture. The internationalization of cultural life was another consequence of postmodernism, being under the influence of globalization. Postmodernism has led to the emergence of new types of creative activity, new genres of art and new ways of creative expression in many spheres of art.

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Aug 28, 2020 in Culture Essay Samples