When people think about modern arts, they think about a red point in the middle of a huge white wall. For them, it does not make any sense. However, modern art seems to be everywhere at the moment : from the simplest sculpture in your local station to immaterial projects that take years to improve such as a projection mapping. Let’s see how modern arts got this far !
A little bit of art history
Everything started in the 19th century, back when Rimbaud was the Madonna of this age. The industrial revolution – which then took place mainly in Europe and America – provoked some significant changes. People were wealthier than before and wanted their living conditions to be improved. This led to a new demand for urban architecture, the creation of schools of design and applied arts, but also the emergence of a new class whose people would soon become art collectors. A couple of other innovations highly affected fine arts : the creation of the first paint tube by John Rand and the technological progress of photography. Thanks to these different changes, artists were more independent and could achieve massive projects. They were mainly inspired by the cities but also by the new landscapes they could discover thanks to the new rail networks. Monet and Matisse were masters of the landscape painting. It is also important to mention other painters who significantly changed the painting history such as Goya or Benjamin West.
In 1893, Manet exhibited in Paris his shocking painting called “Le déjeuner sur l’herbe”. He wanted to explore new universes and leave the traditional codes out of his work. Manet was not alone, he was soon joined by several artists coming from all around the world. The modern art was officially born.
What is modern art and who are those loony artists?
Modern artists do not like traditions. They want something new. That is why they were the first to use the collage in their work but also the photography, the kinetic art and the performances. They also like to work with surprising materials (wood, everyday items,…) and to use lots of colours.
After the Impressionist era, everything went fast : from the Fauvism to the Pop Art made famous by Andy Warhol. Today, we are talking more about the avant-garde movement. These artists want to push back the boundaries of what is accepted and what is not. They want to make a critique of the society we live in. That is often why they are misunderstood. They are strongly opposed to the mainstream culture.
What about today?
However, since the “Fontaine” of Marcel Duchamp, the movement has taken another turn thanks to the digital revolution. Nowadays, we can find avant-gardism in art video and performances but also under other forms such some digital files on a flash drive.
The particularity of the digital is that this technology is at the same time a matrix and a programme. We can put everything we want on a flash drive but we also can give to the arts a freezed form. That shows how the digital part of the avant-gardism can easily adapt to the market. The digital oeuvres can merge with photography, painting and sculpture. What really matters to the art collector is the object, the masterpiece.
There are two types of collectors : the ambitious type – quite rare, who is not afraid of the concept and the technology, and owns interactive installations – and also the small- and medium-art collectors – more conservative and who are more interested in photographies.
Well, we still haven’t figured out every contemporary masterpiece but…
One thing is for sure : there is no need for defending particularly the digital arts and the new media in order to commercialise them because they are arts by definition. The audience is fascinated and willing to experience every type of media and supports. Even though the digital lays on more complex technical standards than the traditional arts, the protection of the oeuvres is not a problem at all. Thus, that cannot be a limit for their emergence in the art market, founded on the rarity.
Let’s close this chapter on modern arts by remembering that the digital masterpieces can be easily found in festivals, more than in galleries and exhibitions.
Tell us what you think about contemporary arts in the comments down below and share with us your favourite masterpieces !