One person who concerned himself with this tendency to create an indecipherable image was the theorist, Baudrillard. To state it succinctly, Baudrillard was concerned with our modern reality becoming a simulation, and that our illusion was coming too close to reality.
To expand on that statement, Baudrillard’s view of the way meaning is constructed needs to be explained. If, for example, we are to say we know the definition of the word ‘hard,’ we use other words to represent the definition. We can understand these words through these words, but we also understand the definition of a word by what it is not. When we say something is hard, we are also saying that something is not soft. When we say something is a towel, we are also at the same time stating that it is not a blanket, a car, a computer, or a piece of paper.
There are, of course, different ways to approach defining a word, and these myriad ways form an interconnected web of meaning, both defining what a word is and what a word is not. A more extreme version of this states that it is entirely through difference, by defining what a word is not, that we develop these webs. It is through these webs of meaning that we come to understand our connection to reality. Baudrillard was concerned that our modern society tries too hard to understand reality, and because we can only know reality through these webs of meaning, we cannot actually come to understand reality fully, and any thinking that we have come to a better understanding of reality is false and forces us into a simulated version of reality.
As mentioned, the way we understand words, and by extension reality is through these webs of meaning. The question then, of course, is to then attempt to describe how we attempt to understand artistic endeavors, which are in a different way webs of meaning that people make. A painting is not the same sort of concept as a painting. A word will .attempt to define a single concept and have a single meaning.