Daniel James Hadley
DR2004 Postmodern Drama
Dr. Gabriella Calchi-Novati
Michaelmas Term 2012
Title: The consequences and manifestation of Postmodern theory on the Visual and
Performing Arts, with particular reference to the theories of Jean-François Lyotard, Jean
Baudrillard and Fredric Jameson.
Postmodernism is the “state, condition, or period subsequent to that which is modern” and within art it manifests itself as any of the “styles, concepts or points of view involving a conscious departure from modernism.” 1 Therefore from a stylistic approach,
Postmodernism can be defined as the collection of fundamental ideas and essential concepts which together define it. The more of these particular ideas and concepts the work of art contains, the more Postmodern it becomes. However, there are many diverging views on what Postmodernism should be characterised by and therefore this stylistic approach to Postmodernism is a result of both historical and theoretical approaches. The three theorist I believe most important are Jean-François Lyotard, Jean Baudrillard and
Fredric Jameson, and so in order to preserve clarity I have structured this essay in three parts, one for each theorist with examples to fit the theory. This essay will not attempt to define the umbrella term “Postmodernism;” but it will analyse the consequences as well as the manifestation of Postmodern theory on the Visual and Performing Arts.
The first complication encountered is that a work of art may hide a plurality of theories behind it, yet this does not pose a problem as plurality and eclecticism themselves are characteristics of Postmodernism. 2 The first work analysed is Peter Handke 's Kaspar in relation to Lyotard theories with regard to Ludwig Wittgenstein. These three have yet to
1 OED Online, September 2012, Oxford University Press, "postmodernism, n.", http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/238214?redirectedFrom=postmodernism (accessed November 29
Bibliography: Anderson, Walter Truett, ed. The Fontana Postmodernism Reader. London: Fontana Press, 1996. Baudrillard, Jean. Simulations. Trans. By Paul Foss, Paul Patton and Philip Beitchman. New York: Semiotext(e), 1983. Handke, Peter. Kaspar. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1967. OED Online, September 2012, Oxford University Press, "metanarrative, n.” http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/245263?redirectedFrom=metanarrative (accessed December 01 2012). OED Online, September 2012, Oxford University Press, "postmodernism, n.", http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/238214?redirectedFrom=postmodernism (accessed November 29 2012). Preziosi, Donald, ed. The Art of Art History: A Critical Anthology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Philosophical Investigations. Trans. By G.E.M. Anscombe. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1986.