Model and icon

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Models and modeling function as themes or representational subjects in a striking number of recent literary, pictorial, and filmic works. This sudden currency is explained here through indexical and iconic characteristics of models. Since they are historical entities, works about models indicate art&#8217;s relation to extra-artistic reality, often gesturing as well to the reality of the artist, audience, and &#8216;contact&#8217;. The model&#8217;s likeness to its image opens a potential for reversibility between them, which artists can use in exploring hierarchy. By anchoring art in reality and signifying reciprocity and equality, model-themed art blurs the line between ethics and aesthetics. Thus, in contemporary culture the aesthetic function would no longer be Roman Jakobson&#8217;s formalist &#8220;set toward the message&#8221;, but instead a <i>set toward the interaction.</i>


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