EXPRESSIVE FALLACY/ FOSTER,HAL

“In The Expressive Fallacy, Hal Foster demonstrates expressionism to be just another fabrication. “(E)xpressionism is a paradox: a type of representation that asserts presence – of the artist, of the real. This presence is by proxy only (the expressive marks of the artist, the indexical traces of the hand), and yet it is easy to fall into the fallacy: for example, we commonly say an expressionist like Kandinsky ‘broke through’ representation, when in fact he replaced (or superimposed) one form with another – a representation oriented not to reality (the coded, realist outer world) but to expression (the coded, symbolist inner world). After all, formlessness does not dissolve convention or suspend mediation; as the expressionist trope for feeling, it is a rhetorical form too.”

As examples of the artistic reaction against expressionism, Foster details a succession of painters beginning with Jasper Johns (Target with Plaster Casts) in 1955, to Roy Lichtenstein (his brushstroke paintings), and, more recently, Gerhard Richter. In other art media, self-expression acts primarily as a conceit to work against. As we draw closer to contemporary times, artwork in form and concerns move closer to design, and, ?nally, art must coexist with design to have import. Foster cites Jenny Holzer and Peter Nadin’s artist book Eating Friends, which “debunks” expression with a literal obsession with “inner life”: texts and images (the stuff graphic design is made of), focusing on internal organs.” http://www.emigre.com/Editorial.php?sect=1&id=22

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~ by freeestyle on May 8, 2010.

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