Trope Two – Simulacrum

We see repeated representation and serial photos everywhere, and sometimes our relationship to an image connects to many others based on these frequent repeats as well. More often we see a representation, much easier we get desensitize to it and don’t think of its original meaning any more. According to Jean Baudrillard, these visual representations empty and jump out their original references and evolve to represent other purposes over time, which becomes SIMULACRUM [1].

The definition and application of simulacrum remind me of some very famous modern artists, and it also makes me doubt the meaning of their strong personal style that builds on a repeated pattern.

Andy Warhol – the iconic individual with bright colors [2].

Yayoi Kusama – dots cover everything [3].

Mika Ninagawa – exaggerated colorful flowers and golden fish [4].

Etc.

Their artworks all own unique characteristics, which makes the audience can recognize them at first sight. Initially, the style helps artists to catch people’s eye and express their thoughts and ideas more effectively. For example, Andy Warhol, the master of the simulacrum, likes taking or retaking iconic and representative photos then multiplying them over and over along with bright colors. Then, the repeating will remove the iconic personal identity of celebrities and elevate the portrait to the meaning of the fixation of liberal culture and entertainment which is no longer attached to the real person. These repeated photos become an innovative design and idea to create profits. I UNDERSTAND. However, more I see his works, more I feel that they desensitize themselves. The only thing left in the audience’s head is the colorful pattern rather than the original meaning the artist wants to express.

This DOUBLE SIMULACRUM is very ironic in my view. The true meaning of the art piece is emptied by their shell, and nobody cares about their real purpose and artist’s thought at the end. The distinctive manner of expression sprout from the artists then swallows them.

On the other hand, the artist’s unique locution commercializes their work much easier. Only through copy and paste their ‘art algorithm,’ the new piece is born and becomes expensive as hell. Therefore, would stylization be the excuse of slacking off for the artists? Through repeating the pattern, could everyone become famous then? Would it make the artist’s popularity and thoughts less meaningful? Another aspect worth to concerning is that is fan and critic chase and kiss artists’ ass blindly for their pattern, or they really appreciate and fascinated by the inside.

In this video, I mocked three different modes from three artists, Andy Warhol, Yayoi Kusama, and Mika Ninagawa through combing their ‘algorithm’ with my boring clips took on campus. I believe that you would understand better what I want to express after checking out the video.

A very personal opinion. To be honest, more I saw their works, more I feel that they are just as dull as the screen saver. Therefore, is the intensely personal style beneficial or harmful to the artist? Even though I made this video and did the discussion above, I still had no answer.

What do you think?

[1] https://web.stanford.edu/class/history34q/readings/Baudrillard/Baudrillard_Simulacra.html
[2] https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/andy-warhol-pop-art-30-year-anniversary-time-capsules-the-factory-a7592816.html
[3] http://patternandsource.com/kusama.html
[4] https://www.shashasha.co/en/artist/mika-ninagawa

4 thoughts on Trope Two – Simulacrum

  1. The RGB color filter feels very sci-fi. I don’t see a clear connection between the objects you put in front of the table and the table itself. Music’s great.

    Reply
    1. Thanks for the comment. Well… Actually, the ‘no connection’ between the filter and the background is intentional, and it’s the reason why I want to discuss simulacrum. (More about simulacrum see description below the video.) In this video, I extracted the patterns from famous artists’ pieces and put into a very random clip, just like they did in their many works. Very personally opinion, I think that their strong personal styles gradually become the excuse of slacking off and lack of innovation. Therefore, I hope this video can be a sarcastic piece to point out that their own modes empty out the true meaning and intention of their artworks.

      Reply
  2. Woah, I’m amazed at the way you tackled this! This really shows that artists especially “popular” ones can make art just by adding a pattern to something. When I saw the whole video the first thing that came to mind was how iconic the artists are not because of some cool art but because of the patterns they use. I liked the aesthetic of the video and how it shows how similar but different art can be.

    Reply
    1. !!!!!!!THANKS!!!!!!!That’s exactly what I meant to express in this video!

      Reply

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