Art Nouveau Movement, Dadaism and the Punk Art Movement

Modified: 3rd May 2018
Wordcount: 2051 words
Arts Student

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Art Nouveau is generally seen as using an approach to design involving a particular flowing style which artists should use when working on everything from architecture to furniture and from jewellery to posters and thus making Art Nouveau part of everyday life. Art Nouveau was the most popular artistic style in graphic art at the turn of the century and was at its most popular at the turn of the 20th century; roughly from around 1890 to 1905. It was commonly used within architecture and decorative arts. It was quite a simplistic art style and had a whip lash ripple or floral effect where a lot of the imagery looked as though the starting point had been curved in the style of a whip curves when it is about to strike something. Everything was flowing and elegant. The French underground stations still have their entrances and platforms, signs and railings exactly as they were when the movement was at its height.

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Czech artist Alphonse Mucha strongly influenced the Art Nouveau movement when he produced a lithographed poster, created as an advertisement for the play Gismonda and appeared on the first of January 1895 in the streets and walkways of Paris. It was an overnight sensation and announced itself and its creator as a new artistic form to the citizens of Paris. It was originally named Mucha style and later became known as Art Nouveau which means “new art” in French. Art Nouveau was strongly used over a fifteen year period and was most widely used through Europe from Glasgow in Scotland, to Moscow in Russia and to Madrid in Spain but its influence was worldwide.

Art Nouveau was a popular form of graphic design with detailed prints and bright colours which set the atmosphere of the imagery within. It was usually used for posters which drew the viewer’s eyes first to the outlined figures inside and then to the text within and then you would notice the fine detail around the whole image. The art style was a new form of Japanese inspired art and had a William Morris style of repetitiveness such as used in his wall-papers within the detail.

In Spain, the Art Nouveau movement was centred in Barcelona. Architect Antoni Gaudí­, whose decorative architectural style is so highly personal, created the Casa Batllo. The house had already been bui8lt but he remodelled it completely in the style of Art Nouveau, and is most widely regarded as being the complete essence of Art Nouveau. Such distinctive buildings can be found all over Europe and America, except in Warsaw, Poland where the Nazis and the Communists destroyed all such works on the basis that they were decadent.

I love the intricate detail of Art Nouveau and I liked the amazing patterns produced with this style within poster designs and architecture and I thought that it was outstanding that this sort of design could be achieved, but I felt that it is not my style of art. I like to produce detailed pieces but a stranger style would suit me more. I then decided to move away from Art Nouveau and move more into the styles of Dada with are more interesting and confuse the viewer, the style is very different to what has been previously produced and that is why I have decided to do more of a Dada approach to my project now.

The Dada movement started first in Zurich, Switzerland, during World War I. European artists and international writers created the Dada movement, from 1915 to 1922 and were marked by a spirit of anarchic revolt. French poet Tristan Tzara stabbed the pages of a dictionary with his penknife to randomly choose a name for the movement. The importance of chance displayed within Dada art is highlighted by this random act in itself. The style of Dada took great pleasure in absurdity and prioritised the role of the unpredictable and unexpected in artistic creation. Its purpose was to make fun of what its participants considered to be the nonsensical meaninglessness of the modern world.

Dada’s’ beginnings relate broadly to the outbreak of World War I and for many participants the movement was a protest against the conformist nationalist and colonialist interests, which many in the Dadaists movement believed were the root cause of Worl War I, and against the cultural and intellectual conformity in art and more broadly in society in general that corresponded to the war. In addition to anti-war, Dada was also anti bourgeois, nonconformists, and anarchist in nature. These expressions can be compared to the anti-conformity of the Punk movement.

Another key feature in one of Dada’s most infamous exhibitions was a lack of respect. This was shown in an exhibition organised by Max Ernst where axes were provided for visitors to smash all of the works available on show. Otto Dix, Hans Richter, Marcel Duchamp, George Grosz, and Jean Arp are among the leading Dadaists. Pop art was strongly influenced by the Dada movement, and was sometimes called neo Dada. Dadaists seeming to show lack of seriousness towards things on the surface, while the Dada artists were really galvanized by false belief and strong moral outrage at the horrendous, unprecedented carnage and utter destruction of World War I. Shocking people out of their complacency was the ultimate aim of the movement.

Dada generally involved visual arts, poetry, art manifestoes, theatre art, and graphic design, and concentrated its anti war politics through rejection of the prevailing standards in art through anti art cultural works. Dada’s purpose was to mock what its contenders thought to be the meaninglessness of the modern world.. Dada represented the opposite to everything for which art stood. While broad, the movement was unstable. By 1924 in Paris, Dada was transforming into surrealism, social realism and other forms of modernism. Some theorists believe that Dada was actually the beginning of postmodernism art. According to its participants, Dada was known as ‘anti-art’. Everything for which art stood, Dada represented the opposite.

Dada made the foundations to abstract art and sound poetry, postmodernism, and performing art, a great influence on pop art, and a celebration of anti-art which later would be taken up by anarchistic political uses during the 1960s and the movement that set the ground work for Surrealism.

I felt that Dada was quite an interesting art period due to the style of its workings and its slight mysteriousness to it. The images produced during this time were unusual at the time and were seen as weird as is seen as today. The style of Dada is quite eye catching with its strange shapes and dull colours, it makes the viewer want to try and understand the picture so in a way Dada was quite a successful form of graphic design. Although the Dada period has been a very interesting and successful graphic design art period, I have decided to evolve from this period into the form of Punk art. Punk art is more interesting for me because it uses bolder colours and has a more upfront and to the point style of things which is why I have chosen to move onto this art period for my project.

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The Punk ideologists are an assembly of mixed social and political beliefs within the Punk subculture. In its first standing the Punk subculture originally was troubled with ideas including anti- authoritarianism, individualism, rebellion, discontent and free thought. The political ideology most often associated with punk is anarchism. Punk ideologies are often expressed through Punk rock music, Punk fashion, Punk literature, either spoken word recordings, or Punk visual arts. Many Punks have expressed their extreme radical views through direct action, such as boycotts, protests, vandalism, squatting, or destruction of property.

Dada artists were quite hard to find so I had to look at other artists like Theo. Dapore to help me in numerous inspirational aspects of my graphic design and then use those artists style in a way to make it more Dada. This seemingly simple task, because of the style of Dada, was not as easy as you might think, it was more difficult to make the style of Dada come to life than I had thought and so I decided to move to a similar style era that would be more fun and more creative for me that I could come up with many more ideas and designs with, so I decided to move to the punk era. Having seen posters and other designs produced from this era, like stuff from the sex pistols, I thought this would be an excellent way for me to use my graphic design skills, to make my versions of these posters and other outcomes and so I thought this is the era I would use for my final outcome for the unit.

Punk fashion was primarily a highly individual demonstration of nonconformity, as well as rebellion against popular culture and the homespun hippie counterculture. Punk fashion is usually styled to portray rebellion, aggression and individualism. Some punks choose to wear clothing and tattoos that express or relate to social and political factors in their style. Punk visual art is often styled on the same type of socio-political message. Many punks wear second hand clothing, often as an anti-consumerist statement. Their style was very visual and very aggressive, such as wearing safety pins pierced through their bodies as jewellery, and extreme spikes in their hair, fashioned from glue and hairspray and vividly coloured in reds, greens and blacks and other wonderful styles, all as original and outlandish as possible

Punk visual art is artwork which can often be found on punk rock album covers, punk show flyers , and punk magazines. It is often shown as deliberate distortion, such as using of letters cut from magazines and newspapers, a practice earlier associated with kidnapping and ransom notes, so that the sender’s handwriting was not recognizable. Most of the earlier artwork was created in black and white, because it was published and distributed in punk magazines printed at public copy shops, but later when colour was used in later more expensive productions it was often typified by being high key, often using fluorescent yellow and pink contrasted with black. A good example is the album cover of the Sex Pistols’ ‘Never Mind the Bollocks’ album designed and created by Jamie Reid.

One of the loudest and most outrageous of the Punk Bands The Sex Pistols along with their manager Malcom McClaren were notorious Punk Rockers; the group itself for their anti-establishment music and him for his Punk fashions and music. Vivienne Westwood and her then-partner Malcolm McLaren shook up British fashion forever with their Punk fashions. They opened a store on Kings Road, known as Let it Rock, which became an outlet for their creative talents respectively. The store is still there and is known as ‘World’s End’. 

I used the artist Theo. Dapore to make my punk style poster. Using minimal colour and posterized images with rich blacks. The outcome was just red black and white highlights on images because I liked the way Dapore has painted his images so that the background is very saturated with the main focus being very rich in colour, usually being very vibrant. The red in my poster design is a sort of dull red but not too much as to not lose the colour entirely.

For my final piece I have made paper skeleton punks that are just looking anti social. I chose to do this because when looking through the internet images for inspiration I came across some paper sculptures and decided I wanted to do something like that. So I printed off one of the sculptures you could make yourself and thought of ways I could replicate it without actually doing it the way it had been done. Instead of having parts that cut through each other to keep them in place I thought that if I glue gunned and sewed and stapled the parts together instead, it would give me more texture and would make them more unique than something that you can print off and make anywhere. I liked the idea of making paper skeleton punks because I wanted to see what I could do with paper. I had done previous outcomes using paper but none that made it into 3d sculptures and so the idea of making this was quite a challenge fore me.


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