The Subversive Frontier: Oxymoron, Photomontage, and Polarizing Meanings in Graphic Art

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The term inverse image can be applied to indicate the presence of a semiotic frontier. By displaying the delimitation between two semiospheres, visual language has the ability to destabilize a semiotic order by conveying new meanings to signs that make up an opposing semiosphere. Thus, the polarization of meanings given to a sign that is shared by both semiospheres can be taken into account as the dynamic nature of a semiotic-cultural context and its subsystems. The development of opposing meanings within a semiotic system can be considered as a boundary that has been transgressed. No culture can exist in isolation and the encounters between them and constant blurring of frontiers assure a continuum of cultural change. In order to exemplify the previous statements, a visual semiotic analysis will be conducted on three images. The use of oxymoron as a visual rhetorical figure in the photomontages of John Heartfield during the 1930s followed by Josep Renau in the 1960s and James Victore in the 1990s will serve as a historical walkthrough as to how the periphery can subvert the center through graphic art.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationYuri Lotman´s Semiosphere
Subtitle of host publicationAbstracts
Number of pages1
ISBN (Electronic)978-9949-03-838-1
Publication statusUnpublished - 26 Feb 2022
EventCongress “Juri Lotman’s Semiosphere” - Tallin University, Tartu and Tallin, Estonia
Duration: 25 Feb 202228 Feb 2022


ConferenceCongress “Juri Lotman’s Semiosphere”
CityTartu and Tallin
Internet address


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