In Search of Lost Forms: Contemporary Landscape as Post-production

Florin ┼×TEFAN


In this essay, I propose a reflection on the shifts occurred in contemporary art production and theory that changed the focus from a homogenous flux of discourses, to an artistic production characterized by indetermination, fragmentation, heterogeneity, multiplicity and playfulness. Reclaiming the established artistic forms and models remains one the most typical manifestations of the contemporary artistic poetics, an aspect that reveals new angles for interpretation at the dusk of the postmodern age. I propose the term “nostalgic paradigm” to analyze this larger past-oriented artistic strategy, seeing it not as a romantic return to the past, nor as a postmodern appropriation of the present, but rather as a form of fulfillment, of revitalizing models in the form of post-production. This eventually creates a different form of originality, which denies equally the laws of modernism and the postmodern precepts. The landscape (painted or built) is at the center of this analysis, a choice guided by its importance as a provider of models, and the revival the genre is enjoying now. The conclusion of this essay is that the current approach to landscape art rejects the productive models that generated it in the first place (sublime, meditation, study), preferring instead forms of creation that can be identified with what Nicolas Bourriaud calls “post-production”.

Keywords: Landscape, painting, (post)-postmodernism, re-production, post-production, nostalgia, cultural remake, memory