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Contact Contact Us Help. The end of World War II brought the next period of musical revolution that was based on the most radical ideas of the previous decades and fresh technologies that started to emerge.

In , Pierre Schaeffer created a laboratory in Paris for musique concrete to explore theories of Luigi Russolo. With this musical form that was a type of electronic music using recordnigs, Schaeffer pioneered found sounds. Karlheinz Stockhausen contributed greatly to popularize all the main techniques of electronic music. He experimented with electronics, voice, tape and various samples and was interested in the way the sound moves through the space. Additionally, he pioneered subgenres of electro-acoustic chamber music in and live electronic music in The concept of avant garde was also applied to radical developments in black American jazz between s and s.

Pursuing technical innovations and emotional expression , avant garde jazz was a unique hybrid that combined the extended technique, originality and genius with improvisational skills. Originally synonymous with free jazz, much of the avant garde jazz was distinct from that style. As a uniquely black artform , avant garde jazz emerged during colonial wars, occupations, the Cold War and the struggle for racial and gender equality, and due to these conditions it reflected uncertainty and anguish and celebrated the plebeian and absurd.

Blurring the division between the written and the spontaneous, avant garde jazz was imbued with formal complexity and emotional directness. Still, avant garde jazz was distinguished from other avant gardes by its claims to art , not by a rejection of it.

The rise of photography in the 19th century has created a completely new language for capturing the human image and the world around us. First starting as portraiture photography in photographic studios, the relatively low cost of the daguerreotype led to a general rise in the popularity of portrait photography over a painted portrait. Photography as a medium was arguably avant garde in itself , since having a portrait taken was no longer the prerogative of the very rich. By the late nineteenth century, many photographers have rejected traditional settings and started to expand the genre of pictorial photography and promote it to High Art.

What first started as a simple tool for documentation, became a genuine artistic medium in its own right.

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When first simple-to-use small format cameras reached the streets, the photography was completely democratized and revolutionized as a medium with various avant garde approaches that greatly affected the visual culture. Having an untold expressive power and becoming a vehicle of modern consciousness that occurred after the World War I, many avant garde artists turned to photography to capture the soul of contemporary industrial society. The avant garde photography in France, whose capital served as the unquestioned center of the international avant garde, was rooted in Surrealism that advocated the social transformation by rejecting bourgeois values and conventions.

Surrealist photographers employed techniques such as double exposure, combination printing and reversed tonality to create the imagery that blurred the line between the dream and reality. Russian artists El Lissitzky and Alexander Rodchenko made use of various techniques that served to break the conventions of perception and visual representation such as extreme close-ups, tilted horizons or abstracted forms.

This period between the two wars was certainly one of the richest in photographic history and it pushed this medium beyond its previous limits. Similar to other forms of avant garde, experimental or avant garde theater emerged as a reaction against a perceived general cultural crisis and it rejected both the age and the dominant ways of writing and producing plays. Renouncing bourgeois values and conventions , this fresh concept tried to introduce a different application of language and body in order to change perception and create a more active relationship with the audience.

This started in with Alfred Jarry and his Ubu Roi play that overturned cultural rules, norms and conventions in a wild, bizarre and comic way. This piece had a revolutionary importance as it opened the door for modernism of the 20th century and influenced Dada , Surrealism and the Theatre of the Absurd. Traditionally perceived as passive observers, the role of the audience was first challenged with the rise of the avant garde. The audience became involved in a variety of ways , such as participating in the action on a highly practical level or being invited to feel a certain way in order to change their attitudes, values and beliefs.

This was the case with the didactic agit-prop theater that aimed to make a certain moral or political statement and challenge the values and beliefs of the audience. Avant garde has also challenged and rejected the traditional hierarchical method of creating theater.

With performers having more interpretative freedom, they were promoted to creative artists in their own right. Additionally, traditional conventions of space, movement, mood, tension, language and symbolism were altered. The avant garde theater in France was significantly marked by Dada and Surrealism.

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Dadaists appropriated several aesthetic principles for the creation of drama from Futurists, such as the use of simultaneous action and of an antagonistic relationship to the audience. The introduction of Surrealism by Andre Breton in , who had broken with Dada two years earlier, signaled the death of Dada as and influential avant garde movement. Surrealism was a major force in experimental writing and most celebrated theatrical works were those by Antonin Artaud and Gillaume Apollinaire.

Two lovers in the play constantly change their relationship and interact with various other characters whose identity shifted. Meanwhile, in Russia, the theater became a hotbed of experimentation and a powerful vehicle for revolutionary propaganda.


The theater was transformed from a place of naturalism and emotion to a full-blown fairground spectacle. A plethora of artistic styles spawned in these tumultuous years. During the years between two wars, avant garde theater was blooming and various avant garde theater movements emerged. Inspired by these theatrical experiments in the early half of the century and by the horrors of the World War II, the Parisian avant garde New Theater completely rejected traditional theater settings, characters, plots and staging. These plays were imbued by the pessimistic vision of humanity that is left hopeless, bewildered and anxious.

According to everything told by our history, the avant-garde is supposed to be ahead of its time. But now that the academy is aware of the historical avant-garde movements , and it sides with contemporary art as well, how can we discern true progressiveness? Contemporary art is experiencing the best of times and the worst of times. It is preceded by a vast number of significant movements and informed by the questions that were already resolved, which could be considered a benefit, or turn out to be a limiting handicap. Some are still bothered by the fact that art is hard to define, placing the blame on the avant-garde.

Yes, it gave us much to be thankful for, providing us with million different ways to approach art, not only as a traditional form but also as a readymade, an assemblage, a performance, a happening, an act, a document, an installation, you name it. What consequently happens is that, in the lack of words provided by artists themselves, art becomes easily turned into a pliable matter that changes shape when moving from one interpretation to another. On the other hand, most of the avant-garde movements had a manifesto explaining their sentiment , either forthrightly or implicitly.

The supposed art movement, or a unifying leitmotif that brings a group together, is usually tailored by someone else. In our recent past, a few so-called movements seemed to have intended to achieve these goals, but it is still uncertain if their collective energy was avant-garde, or simply trendsetting. Just like it happened in our distant past, it so happened in our recent past as well — most of significant discoveries begin with a single exhibition.

Many would agree that Freeze, which was led by Damien Hirst in , marked a turning point in the careers of artists whose names became associated with Young British Artists later on. The YBAs became a historic group, even though the names from the list were added and erased over time. Being that most of these artists came from the same school Goldsmiths and were allegedly supportive of a particularly wild careless lifestyle, the YBAs did, indeed, seemed to be an actual group.

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Still, when it comes to their art, while it was mostly based on the shock tactics that remained the common denominator in their work, it was characterized by a deliberate diversity in style. Apart from the fact that most of them turned out to be great entrepreneurs, capable of taking an advantage of both the positive and negative publicity, it would take a whole other article to discuss whether the YBAs as a group were particularly constructive with regards to art itself.

Apollinaire on the Edge

In short, it is defined as art that relies on the social context and the network of human relations, which serve to decipher the work of art itself. Almost coincidentally, but reportedly a bit later, another movement officially emerged in contemporary philosophy , and its current and potential influence on art cannot be overstated. With that in mind, we could be looking forward to the influence of OOO on art in future, and observe how trans-humanism already affects some of the artists labeled as post-internet artists. But if we consider the avant-garde as opposing to the academic definition of art, we might as well say that lobrow is the new avant-garde.

Because, why not. If there is something sorely missing in the art of the 21st century, it is happiness — genuine happiness, hope, joy, glee, all of which contribute to a positive, carefree outlook on life, which somehow became associated with kitsch rather than art.

French Studies: A Quarterly Review

The overall impression that time is constantly speeding up is a problem to begin with. With the information travelling as fast as a tap on the screen, translating ideas becomes easier, but so does our alleged understanding of those ideas alleged, because in the worst-case scenario, we are rather more easily convinced that we understand them. How can we tell if anything is ahead of its time, if our perception of time is unclear itself? New becomes worn-out faster than ever, and even if time is curved and the past reoccurs in some form, we hardly have time to recognize it.

Being avant-garde in the s means being bigger, better, bolder than contemporary art.