Saturday, 5 November 2011

200words: postmodernism at the v&a

“And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.” Luke 18v23

Postmodernism is at once eminently exhibitable, being image-based and knowingly conceptual, yet at the same time it resists any comfortable boxes necessary for a coherent exhibition. A narrative imposition is needed, and fortunately our subjects, the PoMo set, with their cinematic bent, lend themselves to being fashioned as protagonists within an heroic narrative. So, we journey with these young provocateurs emerging from self-made ruins, through pseudo-ruins, unto the wealth of Disney's megastructures built with a Sebaldian eye to their future existence as ruins, (and finally we visit Ai Wei Wei's ruins rebranded). Sorrowful stuff. We are a curious breed of mischief makers, writing our histories before we have finished, picking over the corpse while it is not even fully dead; the curator's unhappy task of post-justifying the adolescent fumblings of post-modernism poses the complicating difficulty that post-modernism is still current as a philosophy and question. Protection is available by constraining it to an era, consigning it to a style and by ascribing it to periodised social-economic factors. Symptomatic of this, I am now writing about lecturing about exhibiting about drawing about architecture, illustrative perhaps of the over-thought intellectuality of post-modernism.

img: flickr

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