The Culture-Centred Paradigm in Contemporary Art




contemporary art, culture, postmodernism, socio-cultural revolution, traditional art, culture-centrism


This article aims to explain the general features of contemporary art and its radical novelty. While recognising the importance of postmodernism as a marker of the boundary of cultural epochs, the author argues that it is impossible either to reduce the features of contemporary art to postmodernism or to explain them through the foundations of postmodernism. In its own way, postmodernism sums up the great past of the history of humankind. Contemporary art expresses the trends of its development and movement towards the future of human civilization. Several examples illustrate the novel essence of contemporary art – its appeal to the representation and mastery of diverse cultural phenomena as an independent and self-sufficient specific reality. The universality and growing scale of contemporary art that concentrates on cultural phenomena make it necessary to link its emergence and characteristics to the radical socio-cultural evolution (peaceful revolution) of our era. The essence and scale of this unfolding process lie in the qualitative growth of productive nature-transforming and socio-organising, material, informational, and spiritual abilities of culture both as a specific and universal way of existence and development for human societies and individuals and as a particular world (“supra-natural”). The scale of the power and impact of culture on the life of modern humanity and each person and the visible prospects of its future progress are such that they are capable of transforming culture from “second nature” (its traditional definition) into first nature – the main determining principle of the life of humankind. This objective process defines a qualitative change of the entire cultural consciousness, first and foremost the subsystem most sensitive to novelty and responsive to radical alterations of cultural life, i. e. artistic consciousness. This is expressed by the birth, establishment, and evolution of a new culture-centred paradigm of cultural consciousness alongside the one which has existed for millennia, programmed to represent nature and human life (nature-centred).

Author Biography

Lev Zaks

Dr. Hab. (Philosophy), Head of the Department of History of Philosophy, Philosophical Anthropology, Aesthetics and Theory of Culture, Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B. N. Yeltsin; Rector, University for the Humanities.

19, Mira Str., 620002, Yekaterinburg, Russia.

19, Studencheskaya Str., 620049, Yekaterinburg, Russia.

ORCID 0000-0003-1219-3404


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How to Cite

Zaks, L. (2021). The Culture-Centred Paradigm in Contemporary Art. Quaestio Rossica, 9(2), 419–434.



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