The Failure in Identity

Altti Kuusamo


The Failure in the Identity-function of Postmodernism: How the Stubborn Identity Position of Modernism Destroyed the Idea of the ‘Fast Changing Identity Positions’ of Postmodernism?”


Do we really want to be remembered for a shark in a tank of formaldehyde?”
Julian Spalding:
The Eclipse of Art (2003).

I am speaking of certainties, prejudices and identifications around contemporary art. I am also speaking of the social nemesis of late modern art, basically in the West. This nemesis, the inescapable fate, does not leave us alone. It will follow us everywhere and we have to react, it is our obligation and duty. And seldom can we take a real critical distance.

They say that art is universal, but at the same time they say that contemporary Western art is more universal than other art. Moreover they say that old art cannot be universal because it is too old for that? Necessarily newness and “nowness” decide over and over again. Then they say that anti-art is not universal at all; it seems only stand for the West and has rapidly changed into affirmative art, into affirmative avant-garde. When I say late modernism, I mean by this two things: first, for some reason people in the Western art world have stopped to speak about postmodern/postmodernism; second: the horror pleni (lat.), the fear of the multiplicity and heterogeneity still continues in the Western art as a dominant current. 

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