Thursday, May 10, 2012

Analysing art and semiotics

Semanatics is concerned with what words mean. Semiotics is concerned with how signs mean (textual analysis).
Most people have analysed artwork before as schools do this; looking at and disecting the elements and principles of design. Meaning and the artist's intention tends to be skim and not fully devulged into. Semiotics is a complex topic, and is aimed at tertiary level, however if you can understand the fundamentals then you have a better chance at creating more meaning in your artwork -if that is your intention.
Semiotics makes you look at all aspects of your artwork. Even the process can be important in assisting the meaning, the medium and supports, the subject matter - all have connotations.
So what is semiotics? Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols; a visual language of codes. Codes give signs their meaning. A things has its main meaning (denotation) however there can be other meanings associated with that thing (connotations). For example in different cultures the same word can mean different things. Colour is a code which does not hold the same meaning across cultures.
Texts are objects, sounds, visuals and things around us: traffic signals, billboards, documentary, a song on the radio, an artwork. A text usually refers to something that communicates a mesage. We (you and me) are the readers of texts.
A sign 'denotes' the actual idea or meaning of the thing; Brisbane Story Bridge, Qantas plane, Elvis. A sign is a specific concept (signified) and the sound image (signifier) of the thing. The relationship between the signifier and signified is called signification. For example a dog is the signifer -image, 'dogness' is the signified -concept. Dog is the denotation. Mutt, K-9, feral dog, wild dog, dingo, Kelpy, pet, man's mate, helper, farm dog, four legged animal,  etc are all connotations associated with the signifer of dog which produces difference meanings. These concepts can be very arbitary. Context changes meaning and thus a sign can possess connotations (different meanings).  A symbols is the vechicle for the concept of the object. 
So what does all this mean for you as an artist? It means you can look deeper into your thoughts, ideas, concepts, how you produce your art -what you are trying to communicate.
When your brainstorming. Write down the connotations associated with particular mediums for example aerosol paint -is associated with graffiti, street art, surburbs, city, allyways, trains, walls of buildings fences and toilet blocks. Is this medium the best for a still life? It doesn't mean it's not, it may communicate sonething you didn't intend. Just the same if you use any images from popular culture, they hold certain meaning.
This is what the meaning of art means.
I hope you now understand better the importance of what you communicate through your art and to be critically aware of interpretion and intneded meaning. This is a very basic insight into some aspects of semiology  and the affect this has on analysing our art.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If this post was of help to you or interesting, please leave a comment or general feedback.