Explain how contemporary artists challenge ideas about art

Essay by elurpHigh School, 11th gradeA+, June 2008

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Explain how contemporary artists challenge ideas about art. Refer to contemporary artists in your response.

‘...I’m interested in that tender proximity, that ineffable, fragile, breathing closeness or presence which photography can animate while, at the same time, allowing no possibility for any familiar connection with the individuals in the picture.’[1]Postmodernism is a contemporary form of art, it challenges traditional and conventional art forms, confronting the audience. Originating in the 1960’s, from a change in historical and social value systems, Postmodernism is an experimental movement in which artists use a variety of mediums in order to convey high-in-depth messages. To relate cause and effect and to provide reasons how and why contemporary artists challenge ideas about art, photographers Bill Henson and Rosemary Laing need to be considered. Bill Henson, a highly acclaimed postmodern Australian photographer, uses dramatic chiaroscuro (a strong contrast between light and dark) and disturbed, mysterious subject matter in order to evoke emotions and challenge traditional ideas of photography.

Rosemary Laing, also a highly accomplished Australian photographer, creates surreal themes that are powerful and evocative, her unsettling images question ideas about art, in particular photography.

Photography was traditionally used to record significant historical events and images. Conventionally used to document important, usually wealthy people in portraiture, and significant events in landscape, photography was used to preserve unique images and memories of reality. However Australian photographers Bill Henson and Rosemary Laing take a different approach, they challenge traditional and conventional perceptions of photography by creating subjective visions. Henson uses a traditional technique of photography as a powerful expressive medium to create a narrative, and a sense of immediacy. He confronts his audience with mysterious, haunting images which play with lighting and a diversity of subjects, especially adolescents. Henson’s work is open to interpretation, allowing the audience to respond...