Paul Nash, We Are Making A New World, 1918


Modernity is a key concept we hear everyday. When we say we can have a modern version of something, what we mean is to have an updated, renewed, advanced edition. Remember that in Latin language ‘modo’ means ‘just now’. So we  upgrade, modernize to adapt ourselves to  the moment we live in.  

Modernity is described by French poet, art critic Baudelaire (1821-1867) as ‘transient, coincidental and ephemeral’. Tough it is not easy to tell when the modern era starts and ends, it is certain that the term has its roots in Age of Reason and Enlightenment. In parallel with Industrial Revolution, modernity is characterized  by democracy, humanistic thoughts and objective analysis. A modernist view focuses on rational self-examination and self-criticism;  progress is inevitable. Searching for the truth, inclined to reject traditional views; a modernist  uses scientific facts, observation and technology to examine the world and reshape it. Modernism  has an elitist view, so there is a clear discrimination between what is ‘high’ and what is ‘low’.

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