Modern Life | Anna Powell

Today was our 4th lecture with Anna Powell. After first recapping on our previous lectures, focusing on:

  • What is Theory?
  • Semiotics
  • Iconography

Anna then revealed that this lecture would be about Modern Life, and captioned the title “Modern Life is Rubbish? Revolutionising the image”. Modern life will be split into two lectures, therefore today’s only included: Style, Cubism and Futurism. This followed nicely from our last lecture as we touched upon the Art Nouveau movement.

What is Style?

You don’t need to study a creative subject to understand what style is, everyone has a general understanding. Using style, it is a way of cateogrise subject with similar characteristics. The art movements are a perfect example. For periods of time, a certain style was popular. Styles also tend  cross over one another, they are often inspired by one to therefore form another. We were then shown how one subject can have multiple styles; looking different, but still be able to establish the same subject.

We then moved onto to talking about the Cubism movement and Anna showed us a painting of a woman. We was not provided with a name so I can’t find it to show as an example. The painting was very realistic and still life. Anna asked if any of us knew who the artist was, and none of us did. It was later revealed that the artist was the same person who painted below:

Pablo Picasso. This was quite interesting because Picasso has this Cubist authorship, and you only associate his work with that. It also shows how an artist of a particular movement may also try other styles.

We then went back onto discussing Art Nouveau and how it came to an end. The movement was only short; it’s colourful  and decorative appearance reflected on the industrial age. However, like anything it faced criticism. As the movement was so innovative and applied to multiple media, many people had something to say about it. People wondered if it was modern enough. By 1914 the movement was pretty much gone, this is also around the time when Cubist Marinetti died.

There are many examples of when contemporary design or art have been inspired by a movement. The Bergstaff Brothers had a style of “reductive abstraction”. It was minimal art and inspired by Art Nouveau. However it did not have the main principle of Art Nouveau as it was less decorative. They were also inspired by Japanese art, and in particulr the “Ukiyo.e pictures of the floating world”

This is when the subject was not given a anything to stand on, therefore looked like they were floating.

Another contemporary example of minimalist influenced design is the simplistic Sex and the City and Star Wars posters.



Without the ext you wouldn’t really have an idea of what the posters are advertising. However we get a shared understanding.

Two important figures in Cubism are Picasso and George Braque. A lot of their work is conceptual, and isn’t a real perception of reality, but rather an distortion or exaggeration. Cubism received its name from the harsh critics, when it was published in its first art exhibition in Paris 1910. the originators of cubist art was Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque which was introduced by Guillaume Apollinaire and spokesman of cubist art. they were shortly joined by Juan Gris, jean Metzinger, Fernand Leger, Albert Gleizes and Sonia Dalaunay.

We was shown another contemporary piece influenced by Cubism, however this was an animation. It is also ridiculously cute.

The animation plays with perception of reality and is multidimensional with different perspectives to create quite a  surreal setting. We then began to look into Futurism and was provided with a summary video on you tube.