As an insider of popular culture, Kruger very familiar witharticulation between mass media and advertising.
Thereplicated black and white photography from the 50s combined with graphics and text that Kruger is known for relates to her background in graphic design. Although seemingly blurring the boundary between commercial and art, Kruger actually makes use of the accessibility of media to generate meaning. She achieves this by making use of semiotic, in other words,messages not apparent but coded using signs. As Peirce had said, the sign’s role is to connect the mind of the viewer with the world. Both text and image are coded in her work and it is only when we combine them together that we can arrive at the meaning.
Therefore, when we look at Kruger’s work it is important to decipher the connotation behind the denotation. Such an indexical force embedded in the work encourages us to search the pictorial space rather than simply adopting a straightforward understanding. How then is message coded in Image one? First of all, Kruger breaks up the monotonous images and language people are bombarded with every day by addressing the viewer directly – such as the use of “your” in figure 1. Then, she alludes to the associations to advertisement by using techniques such as font choice and the logo like red panels. The typography chosen isFutura Bold, used extensively in advertisements, logos, film and TV, making a direct connection with mass media. Kruger’s concept is to merge commercial and art by making her artistic style into a brand image.
The short piece of text added on top of the image – “your body is a battlefield” is very much like a slogan. Kruger also uses media and political tactics such as tabloid, authoritative and direct language to investigate social relations through the power of the words. Moreover, the eye catching red color also points to the merge of art and commercial, as it is a color often used in logos or commercial use to grab attention. Not to mention, this feature is made into a symbolic sign by continues repetition throughout all her works.
On the other hand, photography is another important sign. It is a replicated black and white photo, cropped to strip it out of its original meaning and context. The woman can also be considered as an ionic sign. It is embedded with an semic code, one that draws into cultural stereotypes and the background information a viewer has. Dualism is the basis of Semiotics and many of Kruger’s work depicts this dichotomy – denotation versus connotation.
The apparent meaning and deeper meaning coincides with each other as image is translated into words, and text becomes image. By using text assisting image – a common tactic used in advertisement, Kruger forms an anchorage of meaning, forcing the audience to interpret the media in a more in depth and precise way.