The Object + Modern Art Practice

Assessment Task 

The Object + Modern Art Practice

Additional coursework available here

The current task faculty task is available here

The primary focus of this task is the re-contextualizing / re-interpretation of ‘the object’ as art.

The faculty task sheet asks you to rework and re-contextualize your chosen object visually x 20.

However; as discussed in class, we’ll take this on step further and look at creating 20 exhibition scenarios for your chosen object, with each scenario being adapted to a particular re-contextualization of that object.

The purpose of doing so is to expand your awareness and get you thinking creatively about the possibilities and limitations inherent in different conceptualizations and exhibition spaces.

The documentation of this will involve an exploration of media usage as a means of representation.

One of the things you’ll notice as you read through the task sheet is the mention of codes and signs etc in reference to artistic practice. These terms are usually not well understood. There are two general types of codes, visual and auditory. Visual codes include the things we generally read as design elements and principles and also include perceptual codes which generally refer to perceptions that are conditioned by what we have learned perceptually about the world around us as a result of our cultural and domestic conditioning.

Signs and symbols are linked in art to Structuralist and Post Structuralist semiotic theory. Ferdinand Saussure and Charles Sanders Pierce were the first to give us specific systems that allowed for a very different interpretation of how auditory and visual language is structured and read. Post Structuralist theorists like Lacan, Derrida, Foucault, Barthes and Sontag further developed these systems in a number of directions.

Signs and symbols function somewhat differently in visual language. Whilst symbols are a specific type of sign and are arguably read and comprehended the same way signs are read and comprehended, they have the added function of standing in place of or acting as a container for meaning and are usually the result of human intervention in 2D /3D representations, i.e., they don’t occur in the natural environment, whereas visual signs are not confined to artworks but are incorporated in our reading of them and are a natural extension of the way we visually interpret what we see.

However.. to effectively engage with this task begin by brainstorming objects that might be suitable for this project. In looking at possible ways to exhibit / re-contextualise your choice consider (as discussed in class) the material, form and function of the object.


The images below are from Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Claes Oldenburg & Coojse van Bruggen, Marcel Duchap and Merret Oppenheim

Images – – – – – – –

For a more contemporary view of Object Based Art download this presentation



Your research task asks you to;

  1. Compile a time-line of 20th Century Art. This will require you to begin with the Impressionists and end with Post Modernism (arguably the last movement of the 20th Century). Some examples; Here, and here.
  2. Choose 10 artists from anywhere within this time-frame (20th Century Art) and create a visual/verbal presentation in your VAPD that looks at how the artist has ;
  • Utilized………………………..artist uses an object or objects to create artworks
  • Represented………………….painted, drawn, sculpted, photographed or otherwise included the representation of objects in their artworks
  • Considered / Referenced….recontextualized or otherwise drawn inspiration from an object or objects to create artworks



Make sure that you provide a citation with each image; i.e., Image title, artist name, media, dimensions where available.

Further reading

History of the Found Object

Objet trouvé

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