Pop Art is not just about the mass reproduction of pretty and well-known images. It developed as a response to Abstract Expressionism, in that the artist uses his or her own set of symbols to express him or herself, and explored with irony and parody the powerful and manipulative imagery of pop culture by taking it out of context or mixing it with other, unrelated images.
That my art could be categorized under the label of Pop Art today was never a conscious choice or aim. But seen by hindsight, it’s not all that surprising. I am not beyond loving Bones, House or Buffy, Harry Potter, Hunger Games or Mortal Instruments, Hollywood movies, Pink, soccer, NBA, NHL and Coca Cola Zero. I envy people who can loose themselves completely. And I have always been fascinated by the psychology behind mass movements and the decision what’s hip, what’s good, what’s beauty and what’s a star.
I love, but I do criticize. That’s not inconsistent behavior. In my opinion real criticism arises from love for something, because you strive to improve it or fear for it. For quite some time I pondered on excessive perfection in looks and behavior that, due to the mix up of reality and fiction in the world of modern media, become unachievable standards, around to discourage, frustrate and frighten. I am far from through with that as even for myself I haven’t yet found the best way to match the picture I would like painted from me and the picture I see. Yet, in the past weeks I experienced on several occasions a development that disturbed and troubled me even more.
It was during the height of the civil war in Libya that someone I follow on Twitter wrote that he should go to bed, but the live feed of tweets from the battle scene were too enthralling to sleep just now. I mean politics can be very fascinating, especially on an international level. And even if it is far away, what’s going on at these places will have an effect on all our lives. Yet, when you know that the same person tweets the same thing about TV shows or sports games, it’s wrong. And this person isn’t just a single nutter.
From the velvet revolution in Iran, to the spring upraise in Egypt to the civil war inLibya, the refugee camps in Somalia, all the way to Hurricane Irene – real lives and deaths turn into enthralling shows, the need to inform becomes the need to entertain in a live stream. A Benetton advertisement campaign comes to mind featuring real life images of environmental pollution, hunger, distress and disease. A couple of years back it still created an uproar around the world. We’ve come a long way since these days. My limit was reached with the introduction of reality and casting shows already. These new media stars are wrong, oh so wrong.