The notion of ‘anti-art’ emerges after Impressionism of the 1890’s, when artists such as Claude Monet, questioned the definition of art and challenged it, creating new approaches to painting landscapes. Primitivism, as pursued by Paul Gauguin, and then Cubism, originating from Picasso’s primitivist influenced period, also challenged conservative notions of art. The Dada group in 1916, who Kurt Schwitters was part of, completely focused its efforts on producing ‘non-sensical’ works of art.
Anti-art was a major part of this Great Paradigm Shift that was the visual shift from the iconic, through the symbolic to the indexical and challenged the established notions of what art is where initially seen by the art world of the time as ‘anti-art’ and were repeatedly rejected by it. Anti-art, specifically Dada, rejects the traditional forms and theories of art. The term is associated with the Dada movement and is generally attributed accepted as attributable to Marcel Duchamp before World War I around 1914, when he began to use found objects as art.
However, such ‘anti-art’ also portrays meaning, emotional power and expression of the artist just like any other form of art, thus, it is a form of art even though it does not match with the traditional forms and ideas of art.
The iconic is when the painting, emphasises a natural resemblance of something. Its composition is defined by the visual nature of the object. Early shifts away from the iconic included the movement of Impressionism, the 19th century art movement originating from Paris-based landscape artists, because of its sketchy and painterly style. It was also heavily criticised at the time not so much for being anti-art but as bad painting, showing the way for later self-declared ‘anti-art’ practices. The name derives from the title of Claude Monet’s work, ‘Impression’. The characteristics included small, thin brushstrokes with ordinary, everyday subject matter and included the crucial element of human perception.
Claude Monet was born on the 14th November 1840 in Paris, France and passed away on the 5th December 1926 in Giverny, France. He was a French Impressionist who on the beaches of Normandy in 1856 met Eugène Boudin, who became his mentor and taught him to use oil paints. Boudin taught Monet "en plein air" (outdoor/open air) techniques for painting. In England in September 1870, he studied the works of John Constable and Joseph Mallord William Turner, both inspired Monet's innovations in the study of color. In 1872, he painted ‘Impression, Sunrise’ depicting a Le Havre port landscape. It is painted with oil on canvas and is 48m by 63cm. In the background, some of the ships anchor and in the foreground two small boats appear dimly. The water reflects the light of the rising sun. Monet composed the majority of the painting in blue, violet and grey, but the reflection of the sun on the water is painted in vibrant orange. ‘Impression’ consists of small, thin visible brushstrokes and considered ‘sketchy’. From the 15th April to 15th May 1874, Monet exhibited his work with Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas and many other artists. They organized their exhibition on their own as they were usually rejected at the Paris Salon. Most visitors were disgusted and even outraged over the horrid artworks and some visitors even claimed that they were absolutely unable to recognize what was shown at all.
In 1922, Monet painted ‘Water Lilies’ with oil on canvas. The scene was set in his backyard, a retreat from the world into a tranquil land of meditation and peace and used closely coordinated colours, bold brushstrokes throughout this canvas to portray the ripple movements across the picture surface. He blurred…