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UDC 7.038.6:72.03

R. M. Rusin, PhD, Associate Professor
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv,

60, Volodymyrska Street, Kyiv, 01033, Ukraine


Of all movements in art and architecture history, postmodernism is perhaps the most controversial. Postmodernism was an unstable mix of the theatrical and theoretical. It was visually thrilling, a multifaceted style that ranged from the colourful to the ruinous, the ludicrous to the luxurious. What they all had in common was a drastic departure from modernism's utopian visions, which had been based on clarity and simplicity. The modernists wanted to open a window onto a new world. Postmodernism, by contrast, was more like a broken mirror, a reflecting surface made of many fragments. Its key principles were complexity and contradiction. In the architecture of postmodernism in the 1970s and 1990s saw widespread experimentation with architectural styles from the past that modernism had excluded. Postmodernism lived up to its central aim: to replace a homogenous idiom with a plurality of competing ideas and styles. Postmodernism shattered the established ideas about style. It brought a radical freedom to art and architecture, through gestures that were often funny, sometimes confrontational and occasionally absurd. Most of all, the architecture of postmodernism brought a new self-awareness about style itself. When architects began using high-powered software created for the aerospace industry, in the design phase, computer programs can organize and manipulated the relationships of a building's many interrelated parts. In the building phase, algorithms and laser beams define the necessary construction materials and how to assemble them. Combining new ideas with traditional forms, postmodernist buildings may startle, surprise, and even amuse. Familiar shapes and details are used in unexpected ways. Buildings may incorporate symbols to make a statement or simply to delight the viewer. The main characteristics of postmodernism in its various manifestations are highlighted, such as absolute relativism, the denial of truth as a metaphysical false value, the existence of which is nonsense, a manifestation of a totalitarian type of thinking.

Key words: postmodernism, styles, complexity, contradiction, postmodernist buildings, architecture, plurality.


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© R. M. Rusin 2020