Apparently, everything has already happened in art, and yet, it is generally believed that the artist still has to be original, create something new and unique. For many audiences, the originality of a work of art becomes the basis for its evaluation. Even critics of current artistic creativity are tempted to find similarities in works of art. But in contemporary art there are often situations of obvious and conscious copying, imitation and reproduction of other works, intentional repetitions and pastiche. Although such activity is associated with plagiarism, conscious reproductions constitute one of the most important post-modern artistic strategies of activity. This is why the issue of repetition has long been of interest to many contemporary researchers, critics and art historians.
The aim of the lecture will be to reflect on the concept of originality and authenticity of contemporary artwork, or the uniqueness of artistic attitude. The era of postmodernism, which denied novelty that was once postulated, began the era of evaluating all forms of reproduction, abounded in cases of borrowings and quotations. Incidentally, which is often forgotten, even in old art there were valuable repetitions. In contemporary times, when visual culture is dominated by repetitive images (moths, stock photographs, repetitive advertising conventions), the actions of artists make us aware of the complication of the old criteria of artistic originality. Fighting against novelty, contemporary artists often break the boundaries of what is appreciated in culture. Eventually, it turns out that even by copying one can remain original, and the meaning of similar works of art determines the contexts in which they were created.
Witold Kanicki (born 1979) – doctor of art history, assistant professor at the Faculty of Artistic Education and Curatorial Studies, Poznań University of Arts, lecturer at Zürcher Hochschule der Künste in Zurich, and Warsaw School of Photography. Honorary member of the Association of Polish Photographers. Independent critic and curator. Author of several dozen texts on art and photography, published, among others, in “Kwartalnik Fotografia”, “Artluk”, “Exit”. His book, “Ujemny biegun fotografii: negatywowe obrazy w sztuce nowoczesnej”, was published by Słowo/obraz terytoria publishing house in December 2016. He is currently working on the history of instantaneous photography (Polaroid) in Poland, and publishing an anthology of Polish theoretical texts on photography. In 2010-2012, he was a curator of the Pf Photography Gallery at the Zamek Culture Centre in Poznań. A Silesian living in Poznań.
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