-New Yоrk 20th century аrt scene
-Armоry Show (concept, its inspirаtion, information on the exchibition etc.)
-Description of the exhibition and its concept
-Groupings of the art, structure
-Criticism/ Consequenzes for the New York Art Scene
– Comparison to nowadays -> MoMa?
PS: Ordnungssysteme in der Kunstgeschichte und Computer Vision
Dozenten: Dr. Sabine Lang, Prof. Dr. Ommer
Referentin: Annum Zulfiqar
Datum: 7. November 2016
Structuralism is based on the assumption that elements of human culture must be understood
in terms of their relationship to a larger, overarching system or structure. A structure possesses
the following three properties: wholeness, transformation and self-regulation.
2. Fernandinand de Saussure and Structuralism
Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) was a swiss linguist and semiotician. According to him,
(1) An inherited social system of arbitrary signs.
(2) The active individual use of that system.
(3) Composed of signifier (a marker that refers to a specific concept) and a signified
(the concept that the signifier refers to).
(4) Divided into a synchronic and diachronic approach.
3. The concept of Structuralism in
Anthropology: French Structuralism was introduced by the anthropologist Claude-Levi
Strauss (1908-2009). According to him:
(1) Meaning is produced within a culture through various practices and activities that
serve as systems of signification.
(2) The world is a structure and people think about it in terms of binary opposites.
(3) Myth is a language with a higher level of meaning; words can not be taken
literally, but have to be decoded in order to understand the underlying meaning.
Myths also consist of identical, repetitive elements, thus are based on regularity.
(4) Even kinship (=Verwandschaft) follows rules and obeys a certain structure.
Kinship is also formed by already existing family relations and is thus a stable and
4. Roland Barthes and Structuralism
Roland Gerard Barthes (12 November 1915 – 26March 1980) was a French literary theorist,
philosopher, linguist, critic, and semiotician. According to him:
(1) Structuralism is an activity i.e., the controlled succession of a certain number of
(2) Similar to linguistics
(3) Narratives are also formed by structures, namely: functions, actions, and narration;
narratives are present in both literature and art
(4) There are three classes of messages within the image: the linguistic message
(actual words written), the symbolic message/coded (interpretation of symbols
etc.), and the literal message (What can be seen?)
(5) While the symbolic/denoted message is easily interpreted, the connoted message is
prone to many divergent interpretations
5. How French Structuralism shaped our culture and language
The contributions of Structuralism to modern day linguistics as well as cultural studies are
numerous: (1) Assumption that meaning in language occurs through difference; (2)
Structuralism notes that our imaginative world is composed of binary opposites; (3)
Structuralism forms the basis for semiotics; (4) our knowledge of reality is ruled by
conventions and codes.
Structuralism enables us to approach texts historically or trans-culturally in a disciplined way.
Because it is based on the assumption that everything that is part of a structure can be
6. Relevance of Structuralism in Art History and Computer Vision:
Art History: structures are present in how we categorize art works (according to style, genre,
or epoch) and in art works themselves (certain topics require a certain iconography and
structure); art history is also viewed in a diachronic and synchronic way and operates on the
notion of a signifier and signified. Art historians also look at similarities and relations
between art works and objects therein.
Computer Vision: Method of Classification or Clustering are just few examples where
structures play an important role. Structuralism has also applications K-means, Bag of words,
Neural networks, etc.
The Rhetoric Of The Image – Roland Barthes (1964)