Saturday, February 11, 2012

Kim Jong Il

Much like Hogarths experimentation with the pictorial genre, Mike Luckovich is also delving into graphic satire. “ Satirical engravings and etchings combined witty, vitriolic or propagandistic commentary on contemporary social and political life with a highly eclectic formal character as assemblages of very different kinds of pictorial and literary materials… they were often densely allusive and technically sophisticated, and appeared with particular frequency at times of crisis.” Much like Hogarth’s prints, Luckovich’s caricature is specifically making a social commentary about the current news of the South Korean “supreme leader,” Kim Jong Il’s death. A ruler of one of the world’s most repressive governments, people were both excited as well as terrified over his death, much of the anxiety was attributed to the anticipation over his successor.

In this caricature, many of Kim Jong Il’s physical features were exaggerated, such as his hair, skin, eyes, and mouth, to match the general physical traits of the iconic cartoon figure, Bert from Sesame Street. Along with the elementary “identical” characteristic and physical traits, the style of the caricature itself is also quite rudimentary, using minimal and stroke-like lines to draw the outlines of the figures. Unlike what was described in Hogarth’s prints, this imagery is seemingly underdeveloped formally speaking. Yet, we can still understand the concept of the piece itself. Because of the contrast of Kim Jong Il’s successor with Bert from Sesame Street, there is a bit of humor evoked in seeing the piece, especially if the viewer is informed of recent news events. Mixed with humor, is also darkness, for we know the character built around Bert was not only lighthearted in the setting he is placed in, but we also know that Bert was the one who didn’t laugh, the serious character when Ernie was being silly, Bert, oftentimes had an austere disposition.

In the article it mentioned that Hogarth was commissioned to make book illustrations. It said that the publishers as well as consumers saw these works as a pictorial relay, “ something that successfully passed on an extant image, than as a self-sufficient work of art.

I wonder if the same holds true for today’s standards, or is it merely contextual? Does Mike Luckovich’s caricature stand as a self-sufficient work of art?

No comments:

Post a Comment