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Some questions about Modern Art

What is contemporary art? Where does traditional art end and contemporary art begin?


A few centuries ago, art was a decorative luxury object. Today, it no longer serves to decorate interiors, but to convey experiences, thoughts and ideas. Art began to lose its value at the end of the 19th century, when the simple reproduction of visual images lost its value with the development of technology. Artists began to explore and rethink light, color, form and the nature of art.


As a result, numerous new movements emerged: from Expressionism to Suprematism. The trends of the twentieth century can be described by the term "modern", the trends of the second and twenty-first centuries by "contemporary". When we talk about modern art, we usually mean contemporary art. However, its foundations were laid by the modernists, and there is still no uniform classification of the movements. And the principles of perception are largely similar for both.


Who is a contemporary artist?


A painter creates paintings. There are also photographers, sculptors and graphic artists. But all of these are genres of fine art, which can only be one of the tools of a contemporary artist. Or perhaps not: there are also installations, red media, action art and much more. A fur cup, a sewn-up mouth or an empty room can become art.


You don't have to paint, sculpt or draw to be an artist. You can and should even search for and invent new forms or tools yourself.


Who can become a contemporary artist?


First of all, someone who lives in a contemporary context and has their own vision. Contemporary art involves the viewer in a dialog, talks about current phenomena and problems of society. That is why you first have to understand these processes and what is happening in the art world.


A contemporary artist needs courage, even fearlessness. Actionists, for example, use their own bodies as a tool. In her performance Rhythm 0, Marina Abramovic leaves her body to the viewer and provides them with 72 objects, including a gun and a knife.


Not all artists test themselves. But one should not be afraid to experiment, challenge and talk about difficult subjects.


What is the essence of contemporary art? Is it aesthetic?


The aesthetic approach was only decisive for the visual arts and exhausted itself at the beginning of the twentieth century. Moreover, the criteria of aesthetics are vague and subjective. But learning to recognize beauty in unexpected things is interesting and useful. If you're an aesthete, try starting with artists who reinterpret ancient sculptures or works by old masters. The tattooed David by Fabio Viale: there is not only irony in this, but also a certain beauty.


However, the value of contemporary art does not lie in its aesthetics, but rather in its ideas and its novelty.


How can we understand contemporary art and its value?


Visit museums and galleries: Many contemporary art skeptics lack the experience of seeing art. Get out of your comfort zone, try to understand the unusual. Analyze your emotions based on what you see. Maintain your childlike curiosity, freshness and sharpness of perception.


Read art literature, don't be afraid to ask questions of experts, artists and curators. You don't need to have sophisticated taste to understand contemporary artists, but it is important to understand the context and background of their work.


Like playing a musical instrument or learning a language, understanding contemporary art takes time. And the best results are achieved through a combination of theoretical knowledge and constant visual practice. The most important thing is not to forget to enjoy the process.

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