The most influential artists
Are painters of today the most influential artists?
Erik Sigerud is a Swedish painter. As such, he wonders how the most influential artists can relate to painting of today. Even if many the most influential artists consider their paintings to be nothing more than just painting, the paintings are always presented in a context. The press release is the instruction manual. The interpretative prerogative, the price tag, and the art institutions create the artwork. If the context and the concept is the work of art, why then paint? For Sigerud, a painting must have a reason to exist. Sigerud argues that painting must be more than a conceptless surface or an illustration of an idea. The aim of Erik Sigerud is to create an autonomous symbol that relates to the time and place of its creation.
To view art as something independent of a context is a modern idea. Modern and contemporary are synonymous adjectives. Modern art, postmodern art, and contemporary art are overlapping paradigms. Modern art stood for the idea of autonomous artwork. Postmodern art challenged this idea. Contemporary art stems from postmodern, poststructuralist, feminist, and Marxist ideas.
Art has always been a contemporary reference to the time and place of its making. The use of the term contemporary art dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. But art from this time has now ceased to be contemporary. This is because modern art has become the name of a historical art movement. Nowadays, contemporary painting is no longer painting of today. When we talk about contemporary art, we are talking about art from 1970 to the present. Also, the term has ceased to be a time reference. Instead, the term has become a value word.
There are no necessary, or sufficient conditions for defining contemporary art. Contemporary art lacks ideologies, principles, and demands for aesthetic qualities. It is an entity that plays the role of contemporary. Contemporary art is part of a narrative that tells the story of Western art. Erik Sigerud is a contemporary artist in the sense that he works in relation to this narrative.