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Title: Mediums and technologies of art beyond modernism
Author: Trodd, Tamara Jane
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2005
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My thesis is a study of the reception of photography into art practices of the twentieth century. It is addressed to the transformations in the idea of an artistic medium which this reception produced. These transformations are studied theoretically by examination of key critial concepts and narratives, including Laszlo Moholy-Nagy's and Walter Benjamin's accounts of the obsolescence of mediums under the pressure of new technologies, Clement Greenberg's theory of modernist medium-specificity, and Rosalind Krauss's recent idea of the 'post-medium condition' as a framework for contemporary critical practice. Transformations in the idea of the artistic medium are also studied in material terms, through a focus on studio practice. The studio photograph is a key document studied. Overall I argue for an understanding of artistic mediums which follows Benjamin's theorization of a 'technology', in his 'Little History of Photography' (1931), 'unpretentious makeshifts meant for internal use'; which helps expand a history of art's involvement with mediums beyond the critical horizons of modernism. There are five chapters, each of which conducts a study into the work of specific artists, in chronological progression. In Chapter One I analyse the oil-transfer works of Paul Klee (1919-1925), interpreting their compound apparatus of making in relation to photography. Chapter Two is a study of Hans Bellmer's Doll photographs (1933-1937), which compares these to photographs taken by Picasso and Duchamp in their studios. Chapter Three considers Ellsworth Kelly's La Combe, I-IV (1950-1951) in relation to the Duchampian model of the cast shadow and John Cage's theorization of 'silence'. Chapter Four examines the aestheticizing effects of conceptual art via a study of artists' uses of the map and functions of mapping. Finally, in Chapter Five, I show the ways that the historic issues tracked help interpretation of contemporary practice, in relation to the work of Tacita Dean.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available