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 II perspectives: 

 an exploration study of mimesis

Mimesis is arguably one of the oldest and widely held view on the nature of art that traces back to Classical Greece. Conceived by Plato, the theory holds that art is essentially an imitation of life (and nature); and was therefore, deceptive, useless and dangerous.

Aristotle, Plato's most famous student and critic disagreed with most of the logical reasoning that concluded Plato's argument. Many of which states how art is not necessarily intended to falsify or deceive people from the truth, rather to act as a bridge for people to further understand and explore their reality. Unlike impersonating or mirroring, Aristotle proposed that mimesis is more like interpretations, idealisations, representations or renderings. To him, these were acts of intellect, many of which with clear intention to do so.

In the following series of diptychs, I aim to consider a few ways Mimesis is explored through visual culture and how perhaps sometimes the vice versa (life 'imitating' art) holds true. 

Reflect

 

Here Yoko Ono’s White Chess serves to reflect the culture of its era. Through the years during the Vietnam War, dozens of anti-war demonstrations took place. Yoko’s piece embodies this anti-war notion through a clever and minimalistic alteration of the game.


The sustainability of this oddly-interfaced game of chess depends on the mutual agreement of which pieces are whose and where. If to say, you, or your opponent, have a lapse of memory and disagree, the play is then completely forsaken, and the idea of belligerency is recognised. Relying on the common trope of chess as a game/metaphor for war, Ono creates this anti-war statement, and implements the idea of the moral equivalence of all humanity.

Disseminate

 

The samurai honour code, Bushido, was used as a propaganda tool by the Japanese government and military starting late 18th century. Bushido places great emphasis on the virtues of loyalty and self-sacrifice. The diaspora of this way of life is then resurrected through Yukio Mishima’s suicide nearly a century later, long after the abolishment of the tradition.

 

Yukio Mishima, a Japanese nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature, committed ritual suicide (seppuku) after a failed coup d’etat attempt for the right wing nationalist militia he founded in the 70s. Attesting to the impact such traditions can make on its people.

Challenge


This on the left is a anti-fascism propaganda poster created in 1942, as a part of the Axis series. Propaganda is a powerful weapon in war to challenge specific beliefs or a groups of people. In this poster specifically, ad hominem is used, portraying Adolf Hitler, the leader of the Nazi Party. Despite all the atrocities committed under his reign, this poster shows none of the facts. It discredits and insults him without actually offering a true argument.


To sum, propaganda challenges culture in two main ways, first it challenges the cultures and beliefs of a targeted enemy. Secondly, it challenges the truth, as propaganda tends to creates a false image of the truth using methods such as scapegoating or deification, creating artificial dichotomies or in this case ad hominem, which means to target a person rather than the issue at large.

Induce


Japonisme is the influence of Japanse art, fashion and aesthetics on Western culture. This influence created a whole culture and genre. The porcelain figure on the right was created by Joseph Wackerle, a highly rated artist during the Nazi regime, is evidently inspired by the way women of fashion were depicted in Ukiyo-e woodblock prints during the Edo period. The asymmetric composition, lean and flattering figure, and the spontaneity of movement.

Circulation


In 2013 Supreme owner, James Jebbia filed a law suit suing Mcsweeny, owner of Married to the Mob for using its stylised text of white text in a red box saying ‘Supreme Bitch’. In response to Supreme, Mcsweeny’s attorney argued that Scsweeny had been putting out such products with the logo since 2004 and it is not till 9 years later does Jebbia attempt to sue for for millions of dollars arguing copyright infringement agains the brand. A brand which has definitely incorporated works of Barbara Kruger.

 

Barbara Kruger is a conceptual artist, who’s known for her bold and graphic text addressing cultural constructions of power, identity, and sexuality alongside with black and white photographs. Her presence in american pop culture was not only prevalent in has managed to circulate through the 70s and trickled down to todays pop culture frontline in the 21st century.

Inform


During the Synthetic Cubist movement, artists explored the use of non art materials, especially those from daily life that are particularly mundane as abstract signs. There was a need of redefining perspective and connecting with reality. Newspaper fragments are exceptionally common in cubist work, from that one can assume these artists were acutely aware of sociopolitical issues of their time and these issues or current events were key informants for their work.