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Contemporary Art

It is always hard to understand and interpret art; especially the contemporary pieces because it is challenging for the traditional and modern forms of art, and the sense of aesthetic. Contemporary artists use different forms of drawing styles, different materials and different instruments of creating art than traditional forms of art.  They also address the relationalities and the problems of the contemporary world. Therefore, we can say that contemporary artworks mainly based on the current issues from 1950’s onwards such as society and environment, technology, feminism, globalization and multiculturalism and many other themes that can be related with the issues of postmodern world. As we live in the same time that the contemporary compositions are created; then why is it so complicated to comprehend those artworks and artists?

Firstly, it is hard because we generally don’t search, read and learn about the artists who created the pieces. It is really crucial to search the background information about the artist who created a contemporary work of art since the own experiences of the composer and the movement which he or she belongs to tells very much about the meaning of the piece and the intention of the artist. If you have background information about the artist and his or her art movement; then you can easily combine your own ideas and thoughts on the piece and the message that the artist intended to give. For instance, if you want to comprehend Doris Salcedo’s installations around the themes of collective mourning, trauma, memory and pain; you should learn the life history of her and the history of Colombian civil war as she was born in Colombia.

Moreover; if you know enough information about the life history of the artist and the social and political implications that the artist aim to convey as a message in his or her work; however, you still have a trouble understanding the piece, then you can search the other contemporary artists who also share the same techniques and themes. Because knowing the artists who created similar works of art can give you a better understanding of the meaning of the objet d’art. For instance, if you interpret a pop art image or object which is created by famous artist Andy Warhol; you should know the movement of pop art itself and Eduardo Paolozzi who is one of the pioneers of the art movement at least.

Lastly, you have to read about the social and political environment of that time the piece of art is created. Because contemporary artists reflect their own times, the important social and political issues of their time in their works. Furthermore, they also represent the significant events of the world history; thus, if you have a hard time interpreting the contemporary art compositions, I strongly recommend you to read the history of the country where the artist was born in, grew up or influenced by. Therefore, the social and political atmosphere that the artists mainly influenced by can be a really helpful guide to understand the contemporary works of art as we can see in the works of the famous graffiti artist Banksy. Additionally, while we are trying to understand those works and the composers; we gain a sense of the crucial social and political events and the world in general.

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Deniz Şenliler

I'm a 24 years old Sociology student from Istanbul, Turkey. I have a passion towards various forms of art; music, cinema, painting... Especially the ones that have political implications.
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