Aesthetics of the Extreme

The excess spectacle that characterizes the current Extreeeeme activities is a touch different from the Rococo of the late 18th Century. They are both over the top, and both underscore the concept of horror vacui – where no place is left undecorated. Some described the Rococo style of art and decoration as frivolous and ornate, often excessive. It came to light in the reign of Louis the XV. It was seen as a time of luxury (for the elite), as depicted in Francois Boucher’s painting below. For furniture and walls, artists based their designs on shells and plants. While the colors of the Rococo times were rather pastel-based, those of this Extreme time is more of full saturation.

Marquise de Pompadour 1756

The Rococo times were based on leisure and luxury, but the Extreeeeme is based on adrenaline. We are continuing to explore limits – of ourselves and what is possible, and the adrenaline that comes with it is a large part of this concept. Yves Rossy of Switzerland is one such example, calling himself the Jetman, as he soars over the Grand Canyon flying 90 miles an hour in a jetsuit.

Front flipping on a motorcycle is another example.

Spectacle is part of it, but the adrenaline rush is as well. Some of the games with this are the Xgames, cliff jumping, sky diving, etc…Along with these activities of course come the drinks that support those in the middle of it, Monster, Red Bull, etc..

Aesthetics could be summarized with full saturation, distressed typography, heavy outlines, provocative subject matter, taboo material, and heightened lightning. Also, horror vacui is back – filling in alllllll the spaces it can find to fill. Part of that comes from marketers taking any opportunity they can to advertise. The extreme advertising goes hand in hand the the aesthetics.

As I was riding a bus the other day, I noticed it had a sense of calm, and I realized it was because there were no adds inside! Check this out – plain and simple – very rare these days.

"the ABSENCE of images is what stands out"

More examples of the extreme can be found with Lady Gaga and her new album, the recent movie “Thor”, and many other 3D action movies.

At a different pace, but extreme in its own right, almost going full circle back to the Rococo fluff, Nicole Dextras is using plants in extremely new yet old ways…

As well as the art by Edgar Mueller in creating 3D illusions on the streets…


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