“Seeing is no longer believing. The very notion of truth has been put into crisis. In a world bloated with images, we are finally learning that photographs do indeed lie.” Barbara Kruger is an American conceptual artist who sends ideological messages through her work during the late 1980’s. She uses conceptual art and collage to criticize society and raise awareness about issues regarding gender, consumerism and power.
Barbara Kruger is known for her photography and collage installations. In the beginning, she worked as a graphic designer for a magazine, which had a big impact on her artwork. As she moved from graphic design to photography, she merged the two approaches by applying the concepts. She combines both text and images to photography. In terms of the type of work, Kurger’s artwork is considered as postmodern. Kruger’s work influences postmodernism because it sets a model for social constructs. By combing words and pictures, the photographs convey a deeper meaning of modern consumerist culture. Her artwork shows the spectators how fast people are to judge someone in society. The work displays how another person’s perspective can impact society as a whole by allowing the hierarchy in society manifest our culture.
Confrontational words or statements are used on photographs as slogans. Also, the use of a red frame around black and white images, with red text. The color red can make people feel many different emotions; anger, love, power or warmth.
The images Kruger uses are sometimes not related with the text on top, as she says, “as long as pictures remain powerful, living conventions within culture, I’ll continue to use them and turn them around.” By looking at her work, we are challenged to see the actual message behind the work.