It was Marcel Duchamp, as Jean Baudrillard mentioned his work “Fountain” a vanishing point for contemporary art; which he thinks omits the difference between real object and its readymade presence in painting canvas. Baudrillard generally criticized for his views on contemporary art. He marked recent art a conspiracy against the simulated nature of reality, while meaning and values of art are more synchronous than ever before. Even though majority artists manufacture excessive meaning and values by considering art a separate exposition of the real world’s events. Many of them yet think they are adept to deconstruct real events through powerful imagery. Baudrillard articulated his disagreement to consider it a recall tune or “déjà vu” of real objects. He thinks contemporary art is nothing but a signological reference of the real world events. Trendy perception glorifies art a projection of real objects by means of new sensation and aesthetic, whereas Baudrillard account this trend a manipulation of reality matrix. Meaning of art is actually means nothing; as because it cannot fill the empty space that might remain even after the appearance of new signage in the reality-picture.
… Contradictory and definitely shocking what Baudrillard desperate to mean by; but we have to remember the moral, that is, no more validation is required here to mean art a separation of the real; rather art represents the tiresome mimicry with innocent laughter. This is might enough for us to realize the simulated ambiguity of art in today’s context.
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Jean Baudrillard’s controversial commentary clear the fact that excessive meaning and values what we’ve usually seen in artistic signage, it now makes the objective of art blurry more than ever. Today seers have appeared perplexing to the artist, and he as well looked confusing to his seers. Perplexity indicates a web of meaning now victimized contemporary artists and seers and both of them have no alternative other than this. Both have caught by the meaning matrix, where mean each other through manufactured meaning and values makes them readymade for simulated reality. Painter and seer, both here are baffled to mean each other as followers of the definition and meaning which come to them through the manufacturing process of art.
Art must mean something and yonder something must have values when it deals with real-life objects or interpret its impact on human society; —contemporary art cannot appear in public sans the scheduled manifestation. It wipes an artist from his original motive, i.e., the sublimity of art depends on the transgression of its “form”; meaning and values could appear later consequences of that transgression. Baudrillard believes contemporary art played opposite; seers are more curious here to listen how art interprets reality and rarely follows how it overcomes the reality-burden despite its simulated nature. The trendy mindset now damages the pure essence to reconsider artistic exposure a natural reflexion of “form”, before the reincarnation happened.
Contemporary artists and seers both have the same worry in today’s world, —to which extent an artistic pleasure help them to get a new experience of reality. This worry prevents them apprehended the fundamental truth of art, that is, the appearance and changing “form” of art might enough to mean its existence; tagging an artistic creation with too much meaning no more prove its authenticity as a real manifestation of life. Art is real through its appearance in this living world, rather than the meaning or values it creates hereafter to declare its personification.
Meaning of art is hypothetical mendacity. We cannot prove the existence of an artwork true or false through this. Meaning at best beckons a new dimension of meaning but not the art itself. Being of art is true when it appeared, and except for rest is hypothetical. Analysis cannot validate or invalidate the power of art when it appeared to the real world’s observer. As well, it cannot prevent its ultimate fate going null and void after a certain while. Baudrillard exemplified Duchamp and Warhol‘s art to mean the nullity and simulated nature of contemporary art to this extent.
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… Nothing remains in today’s world that we can consider a false or fictional representation of the real world. Real world means a collective interaction between natural born and humanly created objects; both objects have an associative pattern and as well they colliding each other to the reverse. Association and collision of both real and virtual make reality confusing, where art is nothing but a copycat game of that reality-matrix.
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Duchamp and Warhol’s artistic signature omits the difference between art and reality. They paint readymade objects that have practical values and meaning. Objectification of art in such painting rarely mean it a separate version of reality; instead, it creates disillusion through its illusory representation of real objects where extra meaning is not necessary to mean it a different version of reality. Readymade presentation of real objects has come along with the same nullity and emptiness as Baudrillard mentioned earlier. He thinks contemporary artists have nothing to do except simulate them with the real world images; as because meaning and values are self-contradictory here; the truth is that they deny each other by transcended the maximum limit of abstraction; nothing may leftover for an artist that he can use for his own salvation. Pathetic is that his aesthetic venture to create a new meaning of reality makes him more sarcastic, while there have already enough and his additions are impertinent there. Baudrillard mentioned:
The adventure of modern art is over. Contemporary art is only contemporary itself. It no longer transcends itself into the past or future. Its only reality is its operation in real time and, its confusion with this reality.
Nothing differentiates it from technical, advertising media and digital operation. There is no more transcendence; no more divergence, nothing from another sense: it is a reflective game with the contemporary world as it happens. This is why contemporary art is null and void: it and the world form a zero-sum equation. [See: Art… Contemporary of itself by Jean Baudrillard]
Today’s artist is unknowingly a repeater of the created events, they are actually inept to create something new by deconstructs all readymade meaning and values which human beings have trapped by wittingly. No God remains there who can rescue them; no Avatar never ever will come to guide them; none is visible in this meaning-manic barren land who can sweep all this garbage and lead humanity so it can recover the loss and get back its original “form”. It is impossible for contemporary artist deconstructs the real picture by using his imaginative power and super abstraction, rather it better for him to agree with this, i.e., the flavor of the classical and modern age is expired.
An artist was free in the classical or modern age; he was free to destruct extant values by using his super extensive imagination. Sad, but the opportunity of distortion is inaccessible in today’s reality. The emergence of precondition confined an artist reconsider the meaning and values first before proposing second or alternative. Alternative means it appeared here to mean something for troubleshooting; maybe the meaning is not clear today but it must have the capacity elucidate its meaning at future; so that it can serve the prefix purpose of value-chain with subservience; otherwise, it is useless and indiscernible; —such abstruse proposal is invalid today. No meaning might exist that a person can treat reliable to understand the real picture of this animated world. Reality is not an illusion but in which way human cognition materialized it by meaning and values, all these are a hypothetical extension but not the reality itself; as because nobody knows the reason why real objects appeared in this world and for what reason they make a relation between them.
Human society is linear despite its multidimensional activism and allegorical persuasion towards the world. Human beings now stand on the highest peak of manufactured meaning and saddled values, which they create an excuse to understand real-life schematic events. Question is mandatory here, what an artist could do in such a world where meaning and values both reciprocally confined them in the various preconditions, as factory goods produced and delivered in the market for sale (?). This meaning monger world stays far remote to the primordial from where the journey once begins, from where the classical art started its excavation to discover the true nature of real objects along with immense curiosity and wonder, to reach the metaphysical feeling of transcendental.
Once it motivates an artist trespass the reality-frame, so he can achieve his own ecstasy; once it made the breeding ground for him, and he started his spiritual journey from variant extent and “form”; the opportunity now obscured in vain due to the confusing nearness between a real object and its reflection in painting frame. No spirituality has left over for an artist that can help him reconsider his subjectivity in light of previous techniques that he gets from abstract, surreal or hyperbolic art. The only “form” he can use at this moment and that is, deliver his artwork a perplexing illusion of the reality which itself is elusive due to its inconsistent addition and subtraction of meaning and values. Baudrillard mentioned Duchamp and Warhol artistic venture to remind the truth once again.
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Source: chateaushatto.com; Jean Baudrillard’s photography: Ultimate Paradox; Saint Clément (1987): Jean Baudrillard; Print on pure cotton paper
… Meaning of art is hypothetical mendacity. We cannot prove the existence of an artwork true or false through this. Meaning at best beckons a new dimension of meaning but not the art itself. Being of art is true when it appeared, and except for rest is hypothetical. Analysis cannot validate or invalidate the power of art when it appeared to the real world’s observer. As well, it cannot prevent its ultimate fate going null and void after a certain while.
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Today’s world stays remote to the previous age when classical or near-end modernity felt an urge to transgress the meaning and values which human world has achieved through its eye-catching progress towards the civilization. Yonder-age artists had a chance to overcome the fixity border by taking abstraction, surrealism, cubism as a toll, which is no more relevant for today’s digital reality. Contemporary artists, after the expiration of pre-modern and modern age, are unlikely have no chance to deconstruct this world according to their freedom of choice; they can at best reconstruct meaning or values society holds now, but the opportunity is squeezed for them to make a proposal for deconstruction, as post-modern age refers. Every action in this current world is reciprocal and squeezed in a singularity; current reality is a singular one-shot event; seated on this world a person can at best quote Marshall McLuhan, i.e.:
We have now become aware of the possibility of arranging the entire human environment as a work of art.
Duchamp and Warhol regarded relevant to Baudrillard in that extent. Atypical presence of typical objects in their work indicates singularity, where the meaning of art is indifferent to the meaning that may create here as an effect of societal activism. It reminds the simulated déjà vu’s of real objects and its life chain. Suppose, Warhol imitate real world’s event without added any excessive meaning to it; as well, seers might have no chance there to reconsider his creation an allegorical interpretation or encounter of that event. It is tough to interpret his art by trendy criticism; that is, something has remained there to serve the aesthetic pleasure of art, or something must be there that can beckon abstraction of real things, or else his art create a different version of reality going against the memes of real objects. When Warhol paints Marilyn Monroe or portrayed Mao Zedong, he copied their facial postures to the parallel of what they carried in real life. Except for this, he paints nothing. None a single attempt he takes that can differ the original and copied postures of Monroe or Mao. They appeared Warhol’s canvas with spontaneity, as they were spontaneous in their real life.
The intactness of original implants powerfully in the canvas and seer got puzzled how he can differentiate which is original and which he can treat as a copy of the real. This indifference means no additional spaces remain that a seer can use to add supplementary values for this painting object. Trendy perception of art always recalls the phrase as a reminder, that is, art dissects the real world events and creates its own meaning first by that dissection; the meaning later adds values, so that we can consider the reality game with further abstraction and symbols. Warhol’s art in that extent is empty; it produces “nothing”, except the flavor that his pop art represents real Marilyn Monroe with her pulpy laughter; or this is a wavy Coca Cola bottle with its enticing femininity and sexual provocation. All these values already existed in the real world and no more recreated meaning or values have required for concerning the artistic signature as Marilyn or Coca Cola. That means art as a sign is now responsible to expose the utter nothingness of those sign that may exist in the living surface of an artist. Warhol appeared fascinating to Baudrillard in this ground. He mentioned:
But what could art possibly mean in a world that has already become hyperrealist, cool, transparent, marketable?… When Nothing surfaces in signs, when Nothingness emerges at the very heart of the sign system, that is the fundamental event of art.
Warhol is thus truly null, in the sense that he reintroduces nothingness to the heart of the image. He turns nullity and insignificance into an event that he changes into a fatal strategy of the images… Evidence of the Warhol-machine, of this extraordinary machine for filtering the world in its material evidence: Warhol images are not banal because they would reflect a banal world but because there is no attempt by a subject to interpret it —his images manage to raise the image to a state of pure figuration without the slightest transfiguration. It is therefore no longer a transcendence but an increased power of the sign. Having lost its natural signification, the sign shines in the vacancy of all its artificial light. Warhol is the first to introduce fetishism. [See: Aesthetic Illusion and Disillusion, The conspiracy of art by Jean Baudrillard]
Here Nothingness appeared an original precursor for revealing the ultimate destiny of this material world. Meaning and values are empty as because nothing can resist the depletion of real objects and their signological values after a certain while. Same as, nothing is there to resist or dictate the changing state of real things from one state to another; therefore, meaning and values could consider a temporal bubbling in the shore of “zero-sum equation”. Meaning of a real sign creates another meaning in painting. It moderates the value of previous sign by flowing underneath the value-added process of addition and subtraction. However, all this effort collapses when we consider the permanent state, in where real objects mean a changing state of things from one “form” to another. This changing state prepared real objects or events for transgression, and art is not an out of box item in the pledge. Art can expose its original nature and true feeling as Baudrillard thinks only in that hyperreal state.
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… Readymade presentation of real objects has come along with the same nullity and emptiness as Baudrillard mentioned earlier. He thinks contemporary artists have nothing to do except simulate them with the real world images; as because meaning and values are self-contradictory here; the truth is that they deny each other by transcended the maximum limit of abstraction; nothing may leftover for an artist that he can use for his own salvation. Pathetic is that his aesthetic venture to create a new meaning of reality makes him more sarcastic, while there have already enough and his additions are impertinent there.
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Art is hyperreal when it simulates the existing meaning and values of real objects sans any addition or subtraction. Such type representation ignores symbolism or abstraction in excuse that no meaning is necessary to mean the nullity of real signage, as because they already have enough meaning to conceal their original face in this value-added process. Not necessary to know how Marilyn laughs when she seated alone in her bedroom, or how she felt seeing her face in the mirror without any toilette! Her gestures in cinescreen are the only identity that dictates her life in this world; it buried the values what she holds before appeared as Marilyn in Hollywood; on those days people knew her as Norma Jean Mortensen, a dance manic neighbor-girl with typical femininity.
Yonder girl has no more existed in the world where Marilyn exists with her explosive sex appeal and deceitful laughter. She is nothing if anybody recovers her beauty as Norma Jean; on the contrary, she is explosive than ever, even after her death, when a person sees Marilyn in cinescreen or photograph. Here the glamorous values of Marilyn are essentially docile to deny the real innocence of Norma Jean. Except for this denial, the stimulant provocation of Marilyn is unable to defeat the purity of Norma Jean.
… Duchamp or Warhol’s works are neither rebellious, nor they own Kandinsky’s positivism or such hope that art perturbed reality through its powerful engagement. They just paint the simulated memes of the real of the real… It is impossible for contemporary artist deconstructs the real picture by using his imaginative power and super abstraction, rather it better for him to agree with this, i.e., the flavor of the classical and modern age is expired.
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Reality is a game of revocation. It replaced the primitive essence by recreating artificial meaning and values. A human being artifice his own existential truth in real life events when he means it by meaning or extracts further to prove its validity as legal and justified. It creates illusion amid the single imagery of the world, but illusion has gone when a person meditates the ultimate fate where one meaning emptied another through revocation; the image of Marilyn suppose expel Norma Jean. One Marilyn once born and sprout here as Norma Jean and the process was quite natural; while another appeared in Hollywood as a readymade commodity to entertain people. The second image adds new values in the reality-picture; it concealed the pure essence of Norma Jean. The signological values of that woman are now banal if we compare it to the merchandise values of Marilyn Monroe in Hollywood.
Artificially created values are more pivotal than the original values; that means artifice Marilyn is vital than pure Norma Jean. Meaning and values appeared here as replacement of sign as well. This way fiction begins and the reality dies, or we can say reality eats reality. Duchamp’s urinal eats the real urinal and Marilyn’s lustful laughter in Warhol’s painting simply eats her real personality of Norma Jean. It reminds, we are not living in the golden age when Vermeer paints “The Girl with a pearl earring”, where beauty beckons secret mystery, where it appeared undefined and mystic to seers. We are not even the resident of Dali’s surreal deformation; nor do we belong in Kandinsky’s mind-blowing abstraction, where things fall apart to shake the reality-sense over again.
Kandinsky tears out our reality-sense through his geometric fragments, in where the objective reality lost its subjective integrity and represents the problem of communication between them. Kandinsky’s abstraction as well represents nullity where the structured frame of this real world collapsed and getting pace to encircled in the canvas with ambiguous flight. He means the fragmentation of real world’s objects a spiritual flight to such reality where all these fragmented pieces can meet each other to deconstruct the reality once again.
Abstractionist is positivist in that sense despite his rebellious nature to break the structure of this meaning-dominant world. Duchamp or Warhol’s works are neither rebellious, nor they own Kandinsky’s positivism or such hope that art perturbed reality through its powerful engagement. They just paint the simulated memes of the real of the real. Shocking, but contemporary artists have no way to mean the reality as Rene Magritte means in his dubious declaration that his canvas represents a tobacco pipe but unfortunately this is not a pipe.
Warhol is even more ambiguous as because no space remains for him to make a statement like this, —he paints Marilyn or Coca Cola but unlikely they are separate from the real. He at best could say real Marilyn and her portrait is identical with this world to mean the meaning of reality is meaningless. They can mimic real objects in painting to reflect the nullity of meaning. No meaning or valuation is enough that can consider the relation of this real world and the world of art a separate entity, for tearing the dissolution that both of them will destroy in vain after a certain while.
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… No meaning might exist that a person can treat reliable to understand the real picture of this animated world. Reality is not an illusion but in which way human cognition materialized it by meaning and values, all these are a hypothetical extension but not the reality itself; as because nobody knows the reason why real objects appeared in this world and for what reason they make a relation between them.
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Valuation omits the original, and no more illusion has leftover (except the nostalgia) for Marilyn to recover her true origin as Norma Jean. She is empty in meaning despite her sparkling laughter and wavy luster. What she could do now is advertise her creamy beauty as a sign of provocation. A shampoo-girl who promotes lie that people can use this or that shampoo and perfume if they want to get the fragrance she holds. Yeah, Marilyn is no more a female now; she is more than a fragrance; a piece of stimulant; alive here to aromatize the boring world with her sedative smile and hypnotic gestures. She may kill her one day but her aroma will remain as a sign of sedation. Marilyn as a sign is more real than the real person who once exists in this transitory world by name of Marilyn Monroe and Norma Jean as well.
Baudrillard takes his controversial flight to mean this, i.e., meaning, allegory or symbols are not essential for the artist who paints this world in his canvas. Adding values through artistic ventures even more toxic for an artist, as because it imprisoned his mind explores and interprets the real world by adding extra values to it, which throw him sip more illusion and abstraction to expose some artistic pleasure and aesthetic flavor. Meaning creates abstraction, where abstraction leads an artist leaps in illusion and the sequence then lead him to stumble on emptiness. We’ve created values to mean the real nature of this objective world through social progress of humanity; human beings extract enough meaning to manipulate the natural livelihood in excuse of survival; more values have to wait for further progress and solution; so there is no necessity for “extras”, it actually leads the reality-projection in ashtray. Baudrillard means it when he said:
Art is a form. A form is something that does not exactly have a history, but a destiny. Art had a destiny today; art has fallen into value, and unfortunately at a time when values have suffered. Values: aesthetic value, commercial value…values can be negotiated, bought and sold, exchanged. Forms, as forms, cannot be exchanged for something else, they can only be exchanged among themselves, and the aesthetic illusion comes at that price… Art can still have a strong power of illusion. But the great aesthetic illusion has become disillusion, concerted analytical disillusion, which can be performed brilliantly —that is not the problem, except that after a while it runs empty... I do not want anyone to make me say that art is finished, dead. That is not true. Art does not die because there is no more art; it dies because there is too much. The excess of reality disheartens me as does the excess of art when imposes itself as reality. [See: No Nostalgia for Old Aesthetic Value, An interview of Jean Baudrillard; Interviewer: Geneveivre Breerette]
Baudrillard feels disheartening to think about the “excess of reality” in art and whatsoever. Instead, it is better to consider Duchamp’s urinal a true singularity that is unable to separate its value from the real urinal. He thinks this copycat placement of banal or ordinary object exposed an empty value of real objects; it omits the aesthetic values that we think is necessary to justify the artistic pleasure we’ve got from such replacement of real things in any art form. In which way Marcel Duchamp tagged a urinal as fountain it satisfied Baudrillard due to the mechanistic simplicity it radiates. The usability of a urinal in real life remains intact here but its new placement in art-canvas creates another space to consider the object a source of the fountain and it urinate the same emptiness in both allocations. In real life we use a urinal emptied our body through pee excretion; same as, ‘things’ in the world emptied them in nothingness when their lifespan has gone over, and it is as like objects of this real world draining them through the urinal.
Duchamp sculptured urinal object a fountain where it excreted nullity, that means nothing is leftover in the real world due to the emission of real ‘things’ by which we’ve made. Life of objects, its usability or value in this living world is not eternal, every ‘things’ have passed through the urinal’s hole after a certain duration; only the essence that has remained after that is the nullity of things in an empty space; a void where objects lost their identity, whatever it be, a real urinal or its photographic representation in Duchamp’s work.
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… nothing is there to resist or dictate the changing state of real things from one state to another; therefore, meaning and values could consider a temporal bubbling in the shore of “zero-sum equation”… Art can expose its original nature and true feeling as Baudrillard thinks only in that hyperreal state.
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Baudrillard thinks the meaning of art doesn’t depend on the values that how it represents reality to achieve some aesthetic pleasure or whatever we said; rather the value of art create when it overlaps its dependency on the real objects. When we say art emulates real objects, it interprets and abstracts the real order of things to establish its own comfort zone…, —Baudrillard rejects the idea in an excuse that it drives us sensing the artificially created art-object a contender of the real; actually they do not condemn each other; both worlds exist in the reality with independent authenticity. Virtual reflection of real objects in any artform makes it capable to belong as an independent sign and reminder of the real world from where it derives.
We invent virtual stuff (suppose myriad manufactured goods and hi-tech appliance) to maximize the well-being of human society. It contains strong positive and negative impact on society. Baudrillard believes this impact as good as having the capacity to act independently as a sign of life. When virtually created objects take their place in artist’s canvas or possessed storyteller’s mind, they possessed space to declare their own neutrality in the painting canvas or storybook. Nothing remains in today’s world that we can consider a false or fictional representation of the real world. Real world means a collective interaction between natural born and humanly created objects; both objects have an associative pattern and as well colliding each other to the reverse. Association and collision of both real and virtual make reality confusing, where art is nothing but a copycat game of that reality-matrix.
… This way fiction begins and the reality dies, or we can say reality eats reality. Duchamp’s urinal eats the real urinal and Marilyn’s lustful laughter in Warhol’s painting simply eats her real personality of Norma Jean. It reminds, we are not living in the golden age when Vermeer paints “The Girl with a pearl earring”, where beauty beckons secret mystery, where it appeared undefined and mystic to seers. We are not even the resident of Dali’s surreal deformation; nor do we belong in Kandinsky’s mind-blowing abstraction, where things fall apart to shake the reality-sense over again.
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Art doesn’t pretend reality, nor it does deny the reality-sense; rather it appeared as a sign of that real object which Baudrillard think has gone ashtray after certain breakage and from this moment the sign of the object has appeared as a token to remind its originality in the real world. Real objects have nullity because of their erosion in progress of time. They omitted in the void; as well as virtually created art-objects have decayed after a certain period; both have achieved the same nothingness and omitted to the surface for forever. Standing on such null or void we cannot claim the living world as only truth to understand what reality is; same, as we cannot deny the virtually created reality as false; actually both reality equally true and false through their activism and vicissitude.
Contradictory and definitely shocking what Baudrillard desperate to mean by; but we have to remember the moral, that is, no more validation is required here to mean art a separation of the real; rather art represents the tiresome mimicry with innocent laughter. This is might enough for us to realize the simulated ambiguity of art in today’s context.
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