Friday, 21 October 2011

1 Postmodernism at the V and A

Today we went to the V&A to see the Postmodernism, Style and Subversion exhibition. 
I found it really interesting as I didn't previously know very much about postmodernism, even though it has happened fairly recently in terms of history, and influences a lot of the world we live in now. The exhibition really made me see clearly how postmodernism has fed and continued into our society. 
One of our tutors, Mary, made a really interesting point today that Modernism very much favoured form married with function, whereas postmodernism was form over function. For me, this really rings true with the massively consumer society we live in, just make make make sell sell sell buy buy buy consume consume consume, throw away. All these things that are of no use to any body. Was especially thinking about this when after the V&A we walked down Oxford Street to go to the Museum of Everything.

Some of my favourite pieces in the exhibition were a model of Robert Venturi's house he made for his mother (below, outside house). It was a pale turquoise in colour , which was very appealing, and I really liked the way he utilised windows and their varying shapes, and the idea of crossing over inside and outside spaces.

Vanna Venturi House, 1959-1964
Venturi & Short, architects, Robert Venturi, Project Architect
Photograph by Rollin LaFrance, 1964
image sourced from

And also, Aldo Rossi's drawing for his plans for the San Cataldo Cemetry, 1977.

Beautiful use of gouache, colour, line and space.
image sourced from

The exhibition was curated really well, as you progressed through the rooms ( that were set up in chronological order), I found myself getting more and more despondent and fidgety. I knew that what I was looking at was interesting, and originally I thought my slowly waning concentration was because of tiredness, but on reflection I think it was because of context of content. The point was that the postmodernism creative world became more and more money focused, after the 'designer decade', and the culture became more focused on wealth and status. I think this was why I was switching off. 
But what I found really brilliant, was that the exhibition ended with a projection of the video for New Order's Bizarre Love Triangle. For me, this really reminded me of the emotion that drove the human reasons to do all the things I had just seen. The way it made me feel, which I'm sure is common in lots of people, really illuminated the emotion you can get from art of that period of time, which was a reminder of why people did it in the first place, which made the work much more human and kind of linked you back to your balanced humanist feeling when you first walked in to the exhbition.

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