ABOUT THE SYIMBOLISM IN CARICATUIRE
Very little is known, as very little has been said about different artistic trends and styles in the creation of the caricature. Why so little is said about the topic, I would rather not elaborate. In my opinion, it is enough to say that one of the essential reasons that has provoked broad discussion, is long-lasting dilemma whether the caricature as visual sensation of mass media is a work of art only a journalistic product. But I would rather stop at this point.
I believe it would not be exaggeration to say that almost all of the known trends and styles that are present in the other types of artistic creativity can also be recognized within the caricature. However, among all of them, it seems that the caricaturists prefer mostly the symbolism. The symbolism is one of the main characteristics of the caricature of the twentieth century. A very important question raises now: Why?
Before I answer the question, let us remember shortly that the symbolism as an artistic trend appeared in France in the XIX. century, when the world famous poets: Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud etc., were born. Afterwards. it has spread over the Europe and even broader, finding its application in almost all branches of art.
And again – why the caricaturist chose mostly the symbolism in their artistic exprssion?
The answer to this question emerges from the essential characteristics of the sym-bolism itself as an artistic direction and a way of expression on one side, and then the caricature as a kind of artistic work on the other side.
Considering the limited space in this occasion I will try to explain in short:
– What is the symbolism? and
– How does it manifest in the caricature?
As I have already mentioned, the symbolism is an artistic trend that strives to influence the mood of the consumer and to lead him / her to a conclusion about a certain artistic product. Different words symbols and signs are used for this purpose. Symbolism is a negation of the realism and naturalism, avoiding the trivial and vulgar, „selfimmer-sed“ or „secret talk“ to the endlessness of the heaven and the unknown spiritual expansions.
Within the sphere of the caricature, the symbolism is an artistic trend that has a goal to influence the imagination of the consumer in creating a certain mood, to suggest a certain conclusion and to provoke consumer’s laughter. It is achieved in a pictorial – illustrative way of a graphical expression and by using different well known simbols and signs placed in a context of clear allusion that helps the consumer to recognize, perceive, on conclude.
The basic characteristics of the caricature as a piece of art include the following: using its easy – going drawing, either black and white or coloured, almost deprived of any visual –aesthetic values, whose primary task is – by criticizing some human or social negative appearance, weakness, default, defect, etc., – to provoke the consumer’s laughter in an instant and effective way. These characteristics seem to be predetermined for the symbolism as a way of caricature – artistic expression and presentation.
Namely, the caricature as a visual artistic product is widely used in the means of mass media communication (of cource, it is also used in other more isolated places like art galleries, printed works – books, boards etc.).
It needs an unambiguous message, clear and fast transformation of the author’s idea. Using the caricature, its author – the caricaturist (unlike other authors) has an opportunity for fast and effective achievement of its goal – criticism of the observing issue of the caricature, at the same time creating a witty situation and provoking consmer’s laughter.
To achieve that goal, a large number of well know, and less known symbols and signs are used, depending on the needs (the issue of the caricature), the range of the interest, and also the level of education of the potential consumers. If the caricature is concepted and made in that way, it’s easier for the previously prepared consumer to un-derstand it, thaus fulfilling the primary goal of the caricaturist.
It should be noted here that by using the symbolism as a style, some restriction of the consumer’s free disposition in thinking and reasoning is made to some exten, which is not a case with other kinds of art. It means that by using the symbolism, the author influences a slight change in the direction of the consumer’s thinking and concluding.
Such conducting or directing has its goal in an easy-going and effective transfor-mation of the caricaturist‘s idea into a final conclusion or evaluation of the product that should be made by the consumer. Whether this directing is useful or not, and to what extent, as far as the artistic values of the caricature are concerned , is a matter to be discussed.
Furthermore, let us see what kinds of symbols and signs there are and how they can be classified. Here we can mention well know typical objects, persons, phenomena, sayings, etc., that beside their functional value in the course of the time, have also requ-ired an additional one – symbolic value: Mount Everest, the Egyptian pyramids, Egyptian sandglass – clepsydra, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Statue of Liberty, the Chinese Wall, the sculpture „Thiker“, the painting „Mona Lisa“, the bird cage, the flying carpet, the Alladin lamp, the Troyan horse, Charlie Chaplin, Napoleon Bonaparte, Jesus Christ, Adam and Eve, Virgin Mary, Nusredin Khoja, the Goddess of Justice, God – the Father, the saints and then sayings: „To be or not to be“ etc.
Having in mind this short nomenclature of famous symbols and signs, one can separate the following kinds:
1. Symbols and signs – realistic (physical) objects;
2. Symbols and signs – mythic(al) (physical) objects;
3. Symbols and signs – important or famous realistic persons;
4. Symbols and signs – important mytological persons;
5. Symbols and signs – famous sayings or thoughts;
6. Symbols and signs – famous phenomena – events;
The symbols and signs can be classified according to different criteria:
1. According to ther function in the caricature they can be: direct or allusive;
2. According to ther meaning or the place they take in the caricature they can be:main or secondary;
3. According to the person or object thev relate to, thev can be: objective (direct) or subjective (indirect).
There are some other criteria, but they will be covered at some other occasion.
Finali, it can be said that the symbolism in the caricature of the XX. century has distinguished itself as an avangardean direction in the art (and caricature), thus featuring the new role of the caricature in the global comuniti after both world wars, revolution in various countries, evident social movements breaking off the colonial domination etc.