Advertisement – appropriation

Activity 2:  Employ the postmodern device of appropriation to create an advertisement. Appropriate an existing work of art and transform the purpose/meaning/context of the image. Demonstrate your understanding of how images and contexts may be manipulated for different uses and contexts. If you are inspired by Berger, you may wish to experiment with the subject matter of the nude for this task.

The Original

Auguste Rodin, Le Penseur (The Thinker), 1884-1902, Bronze sculpture. 73″ high.

This work is clearly inspired by Greek and Roman sculpture.

There are about 28 full size castings, and various other versions (including plaster modes) in a range of sizes.  Some castings are posthumous.  (Wikipedia )

The Thinker, Image source:

The Appropriation

Appropriation of classical music and fine art images is often used to give a sense of luxury to expensive items.

Helen Lyth, The Thinker’s Watch, 2015, digital advertisement

The original Thinker was cut from the background and added to a new, larger, transparent canvas.  The image was then changed to black and white.  The watch images, text and Apple logo were added, changing the watch band to green (as in the lower watch image), keeping the same green for text and logo.  The glow around the thinker’s watch was added as a layer effect*.  The background was filled with black.  The font is niagara solid for a ‘classy’ feel, rather than using the standard Apple website font which looks like Helvetica.  The lack of capitals is deliberate.

*Opacity 49, noise 20, spread 18, noise 38, range 50, jitter 0, mode lighten, technique softer.

The Thinker is a well-known sculpture.  Even without the title, the meaning is clear from the pensive, seated pose and serious, thoughtful expression.  The aim of using this image is to give the feeling that intelligent, high status people need this latest technology.

Other possible captions

  • the thinker’s only accessory
  • open your thinker’s world
  • tomorrow’s world today

the thinker's watchweb

I conceive this appropriation as a full page ad in Wish, a magazine published monthly as a supplement to The Australian.  This magazine is glossy and of high quality and targets the super rich.

Rodin’s The Thinker has been appropriated many times.  One that appeals to me is this “Hulk” image

Image source:

I also wonder if Rodin had seen Fred McCubbin’s Down on his luck, 1889 – though this is very unlikely.  This image and pose has also been appropriated many times.

Image source:

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