Postmodernism is a revolution in art and Literature during the mid to the late 20th century which succeeded the Modernist movement. They were both reactions against the Enlightenment ideas. It began to flourish during the 1960s as a socio-cultural phenomena that revolutionized modernism and put forth ideas and created note worthy creations such as Catch-22, Lost in the Fun house, Satanic Verse and White Noise. As the very term suggests, it has some relation to modernism, with various features which are both distinct to its period and which are in relation to the modernist period.
The Modern and the Postmodern era incorporate pastiche and parody and do not take the boundaries and distinction between high and low art into consideration. They rather enforce the idea that any work is constructed and fictional. Both the schools of thought view a work as a product of decentralisation. This also brings about a similarity between postmodernism and post structuralism because they advocate the rejection of a coherent center. The centre, which is generally considered as the powerhouse is not really powerful and the periphery as in Derridian term moves towards the centre in scope of acquiring power. Therefore it is clear that there is not just a centre but rather multiple centres because the works are generally broken or fragmented and do not exist as a whole due to which a solid meaning cannot be formed. Just as this leads to multiple centres, it also paves way for multiple interpretations as the meanings are purposely made ambiguous.
But unlike modernism, post modernism does not just stop with treating both high and low art equally, but also infuses the class of arts, the time periods and the genres. The fragmentation and decentralisation of the western world is considered to be tragic in the modern world as unity, center of life and cohesion which is supposed to provide rationality and order are absent. But on the other hand in the postmodern era this fragmentation is rather celebrated than lamented upon because this is considered as the only possible way of existing. Unlike modernism which believes that there is order and the ‘other'(disorder), in postmodernism there is nothing such as order and disorder. It goes against this idea and critics the concept of binary oppositions by considering everything as disorder.
Modernism follows what Lyotard calls as metta-narratives which ‘creates’ conceptions of a society or culture which may not be really true or happening. This silencing of these unreal conceptions are questioned by Post modernists. Baudrillard uses the term “Simulacrum” to throw light on what the modernists conceptualize which are referred to as metta-narratives. He calls it as the substitution of artificial and fake realities simulated by the media or ideological apparatus. Therefore it can be said that there is no actual escape from reality but it is created artificially. And according to Post modernists humans have also lost the ability to differentiate between real and artificial. The postmodernism era also faced what critic Fredric Jameson calls as ‘cultural logic of late capitalism’ because it focused more on marketing and consumption rather than production.
Therefore, Postmodernism can be called as a revolutionary movement in art, technology, fashion, literature etc which is an embodiment of fragmentation, ambiguity, decentralisation and flexibility serving as a break away from Modernism.