Notes on Metamodernism


The postmodern years of plenty, pastiche, and parataxis
are over. In fact, if we are to believe the many academics,
critics, and pundits whose books and essays describe the
decline and demise of the postmodern, they have been over
for quite a while now. But if these commentators agree the
postmodern condition has been abandoned, they appear
less in accord as to what to make of the state it has been
abandoned for. In this essay, we will outline the contours
of this discourse by looking at recent developments in
architecture, art, and film. We will call this discourse,
oscillating between a modern enthusiasm and a postmodern
irony, metamodernism. We argue that the metamodern
is most clearly, yet not exclusively, expressed by the
neoromantic turn of late associated with the architecture of
Herzog & de Meuron, the installations of Bas Jan Ader, the
collages of David Thorpe, the paintings of Kaye Donachie,
and the films of Michel Gondry.

Modernism: is a philosophical movement that, along with cultural trends and changes, arose from wide-scale and far-reaching transformations in western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Among the factors that shaped modernism were the development of modern industrial societies and the rapid growth of cities, followed then by reactions of horror to World war I. Modernism also rejected the certainty of enlightenment thinking and many modernists rejected religious belief.

Post Modernism: by the early 1980, the Postmodern movement in art and architecture began to establish its position through various conceptual and intermedia formats. it is essentially a centralized movement that named itself, based on sociopolitical theory, although the term  is now used in wider sense to refer to activities from the 20th century onwards which exhibit awareness of and reinterpret the modern.

Post modern architecture: Portland building

Some names appeared in the article:

Herzog & de Meuron: a swiss architecture firm with its head office in Basel, Switzeland.

The works of “starchitects” . Their more recent designs express a metamodern attitude in and through a style that can only be called neoromantic. A few brief descriptions suffice,

  • The exterior of the De Young Museum (SAn Francisco)
  • Facade of the Caixa Forum (Madrid)
  • Chinese National Stadium (bird nest)
  • 56 Leonard street
  • Miami Art Museum
  • Project Triangle
  • Prada store in Tokyo
  • IKMZ, Cottbus, Brandenburg
  • Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • BBVA headquarters in Madrid, Spain
  • Elbphilharmonie, Hafencity in Hamburg

These buildings attempt to n egotiate between such opposite poles as culture and nature, the finite and the infinite, the commonplace and the ethereal, a formal structure, and a formalist unstructuring.

Bas Jan Ader


David Thorpe


Kaye Dorachie


Michel Gondry

David Lynch <Blue Velvet>: Not merely convinces us to distrust Reason. It persuades us to believe there are matters Reason cannot account for: a flickering light, a sadomasochistic relationship, a man wearing sunglasses at night, a blind man who can omehow see, the behavior of robins, an ear in the grass, and so on. The film presents these instances as haunting apparitions, within its texture as much as in its diegesis. They are woven into it, at times divulging the film’s plot slowly, then again disrupting it abruptly. Each apparition signifies a narratively inexplicable change in tempo, tune, and tone; alternating from comic to tragic, from romantic to horrific ambiguity, of mystery, and unfamiliarity, to us as much as to its characters.

Wes Anderson




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