The Conundrum of Medium Specificity: How can the Engagement with a Postmodern Juxtaposition of Media also Promote Medium Specificity?

By Andrea Thoma.

Published by The Arts Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

As one of modernism’s pillars, Medium specificity has been considered outdated by postmodern involvements with the notion of multiplicity, the death of the author and the promotion of installation art as a means to define place. Drawing from the author’s practice-based research into the juxtaposition of painting, photography and video, the paper argues that medium specificity has not lost its relevance, but needs to be addressed within a postmodern context of media juxtaposition. It will refer to historical and contemporary theoretical positions by Michael Fried, Rosalind Krauss and Darmuid Costello in order to reflect on the conceptual and visual potential of the paradigm of the fine art medium. Galvano della Volpe’s reflection on semantic difference will contribute to the discussion of translatability between media. By engaging with a detailed analysis of examples of exhibition installations that apply the juxtaposition of diverse pictorial categories, the semantic dimension of each individual medium will be explored in view of its contribution to a differentiated appreciation of the time-space relation.

Keywords: Medium Specificity, Time-space Relation, Painting, Photography, Video, Multiplicity

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 4, Issue 5, pp.523-534. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.939MB).

Dr. Andrea Thoma

Lecturer in Fine Art, Area of Art and Design, School of Design, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

Andrea Thoma’s research interests are concerned with notions of place, identity and dwelling in a contemporary art context. She examines through painting, photography and video how the everyday allows for philosophical considerations regarding our being in the world. She is particularly interested in the juxtaposition of diverse media to reflect on aspects of image making. The phenomenological aspect of perception and its partaking in the cognitive process are a main driving force in the collation of visual material. Over the past two decades she has exhibited widely in the UK, Europe and the United States. Exhibitions include Provenienzen des Lichts at Inselgalerie Berlin (2007), So near so far/ So nahe so fern at the Kunst-verein Ebersberg, Germany (2007) and at APT Gallery, London (2008), Land2 beyond landscape? at the RWA, Bristol (2005), That which is near/ Das was nahe ist at the Representation of Baden-Württemberg at the EU in Bruxelles and at Only Atelier, Vienna (2004) and Skylight Stillnight at Jack Olson Gallery, Northern Illinois University (2004). Publications: * Gardner, D; Millar, J; Thoma, A. (2008) So near, so far - So nahe, so fern. Kunstverein Ebersberg e.V., Ebersberg. ISBN 978-3-00-025044-6 * Thoma, A. (2007) Lichtlinien Lines of Light. Berliner Fraueninitiative Xanthippe e.V., Berlin. ISBN 978-3-9811523-0-2 * Thoma, A. (2006) The making of ‘place’ to enable memory. Journal of Visual Art Practice, 5(1+2), pp.83-93. ISSN 1470-2029 and others.

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