The Persistence Of Ancient Symbols From Neolithic And Pictish Eras

1568 WordsJan 5, 20167 Pages
1. Introduction This dissertation examines the persistence of ancient symbols from Neolithic and Pictish eras and the ways in which they reappear in Scottish art. The discussion takes the form of a hypothetical exhibition which brings together examples of art from many periods and in a variety of formats. Rugoff (2006, p.46) states ‘exhibitions need to ask interesting questions, even unanswerable questions, instead of handing us tidy answers’. By bringing together cultural artefacts and works of art in one venue this exhibition raises questions about how objects come to be defined as art and whether our definitions depend on the context within which an object is viewed. The thesis of the exhibition therefore is that in placing these objects before the visitor, the juxtaposition of the ancient artefacts with more recent art encourages him or her to consider how we define works as ‘art’. In particular the exhibition enables people to view the same object from different perspectives: artistic, historical, and archaeological. These shifting viewpoints are assisted by the choice of venue, which is itself both museum and art gallery. Arguably such a thesis is best presented as an exhibition, which can demonstrate the dynamic, interactive and undecidable nature of the questions of definition. Graham and Cook (2010, p.3) note that the postmodern condition seeks out ‘a plurality of interpretations and stories to explain the past and the present’. The exhibition takes this

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