Stelarc Essay

1 January 2017

Post-modern art sorts to re-define the world through its creativity and use of new-aged technology. Opposed to the past creations of the use of paint and canvas many new artists re-define the meaning of “art”. Post-modern art seeks to communicate, to the world’s audience, a message that may be physically observed through the artwork or mentally through the hidden meaning behind why the artist is creating this art piece.

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This is successfully shown through the works of ‘Feminist’ artist, Jenny Holzer, and ‘Performance’ artist, Stelarc. Both artists effectively re-define the world and post-modern artworks. Stelarc uses a unique art form to communicate to his audience the message of “Mind over pain” and “The human body is obsolete”. He successfully communicates this message through the use of technology and even as far as body amputation being performed in front of a horrified audience.

Stelarc has sort to re-define the world by using his technique of withstanding pain by entering a state of mind where he can successfully be physically hauled up, off the ground, by hooks amputated through his skin and flesh and being located all around his body from his back, to his arms, even as far as his legs. Rocks serve as weights to complete his artwork, “Suspension” (1970 – 1980). His other famous artwork heavily focuses on technology where he physically connects himself to a metal construction and included a synthetic ear to his arm in which he connected to his nerves in his arm to make the ear a functional ear.

Along with this artwork he connected a robotic arm to his person, added laser lights glasses. This was all connected to an interactive online database where selected users can log in, using a personalised log in, in which each user can control a selected part of the overall construction, causing him both physical pain and personal pleasure knowing his artwork has been a success “Exoskeleton” (1999). Another artist who uses a unique art form to re-define the world is Feminist artist, Jenny Holzer.

Jenny Holzer uses the unique art form of LED installation and projection display in public places to communicate to the world/audience her message of feministic rights and life’s issues in which we all relate too in one way or another. Holzer uses public buildings as part of her artwork. Her artwork displays different messages, phrases from books and short advice phrases in which are communicated through the use of LED installations on highways, roads and in galleries. These are also projected on buildings, churches, castles and Time Square, NY.

Messages reading from a LED installation on a highway building reads “Protect me from what I want” (Time Square – 1999) to the more complex projected messages of “Scrivendo sui muri di note” (1977 – 1979) in Italian being displayed on a castle translating to “Writing on the walls of notes”. Jenny Holzer has been featured worldwide for her artistic approach to the everyday issues faced by the common man. This is successfully and effectively done through the use of technology to help display her artwork to the world, thus creating a wider form of audience then those artists who only get featured in galleries.

In conclusion, by studying both artists we can see how they have creatively used new-aged technology as opposed to past creations that use paint and canvas. Both Jenny Holzer and Stelarc successfully re-define the meaning of “art” to the world. The audience effectively receives their message; some arising more questions than answering but both artists have communicated their views on the world and how they have re-defined the world and post-modern artworks.

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