What is Modernism? Post Realist
From realism to modernism: the residual, dominant, and emergent
Photographic technology creates the limits of representation as an artistic ideal.
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Realism is often present as a narrative technique, but the philosophical thrust is different.
Kai Suck, Untitled (Portrait of a Young Man), ca. 1867
Yasuo Kuniyoshi, “Self-Portrait as Photographer”
Pablo Picasso, “Ma Jolie” (My Pretty Girl), 1911-12
What is Modernism? A rejection of the past
Darwin and evolution
Marx and the critique of Capital
Freud and the unconscious
Critique of war
A rethinking of the self
What is Modernism? War is Hell
Diagnosing “The Waste Land”
Physical and emotional wounds of war.
“German Dead on Sunken Road” NYT 1919
Picasso, “Guernica” (1937)
What is Modernism? A new sense of self
The divided, conflicting self looking at oneself in a broken mirror:
Freud and DuBois on doubling
Pounding “until there’s nothing left to call one’s self” (12).
Fluidity of consciousness to reflect this reality; alienated self in an urban world
From Nothing to Whole
How is No-No Boy a modernist novel?
It presents a critique of war, and demonstrates the effects of war on Ichiro’s community, his family and most important of all, his psyche.
Ichiro is the typical modernist subject: wandering an urban landscape, alienated, different parts of the self warring with each other, trying to reconcile into a whole.
This implosion occurs through a very particular historical moment: the no-no boys.
Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988)
“Death (Lynched Figure), 1934
Coffee Table, 1944
UNESCO Headquarters, Paris
Akari light sculptures
“Its very lightness questions materiality, and is consonant with our appreciation today of the less thingness of things, the less encumbered perceptions.”
Baudelaire and Noguchi on the Ephemeral
“By modernity I mean the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal, the immutable”—Baudelaire, “The Painter of Modern Life” (1863)
“The idea of akari is exemplified in lightness (as essence) and light (for awareness)…the quality is poetic, ephemeral, and tentative.”
What to do in the face modern life?
How to be reborn into something good? On generating something new. How to become whole?