Celtic Postmodernism: Ossian and Contemporary Art

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Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

This article examines the depiction of Ossian in the works of four prominent contemporary artists: Calum Colvin, Gayle Chong Kwan, Geoff MacEwan, and Alexander Stoddart. Recent Ossianic artworks in terms of two significant and opposing definitions of the postmodern are discussed. On the one side, the approach of Jean Baudrillard stressed fabrication and imitation as the distinctive features of the postmodern aesthetic; on the other, Charles Jencks conceived of the postmodern as a revival of classical form. The essay demonstrates ways in which contemporary Ossianic art draws together both conceptions. It argues, furthermore, that Ossian has made a significant contribution to British art through the introduction of Celtic primitivism into more familiar forms of representation. It concludes by suggesting that the last twenty years have produced the most important visual interpretations of Ossian since the Romantic period.

Bibliographic note

Article length: c. 13,000 words + 15 illustrations

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-435
Number of pages30
JournalTranslation and Literature
Volume22
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013