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Breaking Through All the Little Boxes of Fine Art

16/02/2011

This dazzle-painted installation by Tobias Rehberger  for Artek has picqued my imagination. Obviously, the dazzle painting derived from WWI ship camouflage – although in my mind it’s not as closely related to the original work – is nifty and certainly a fresh decorative aesthetic. The thing that interests me much more is that this installation breaks through all of the little boxes of decoration that we furnish our homes in.

I have snatched the image above from the totally great home decorating site, Apartment Therapy and is a nice example of a well-appointed and nicely styled contemporary room. Using this as an example of how we compartmentalize things in our homes – where everything is corralled in its spot and for its purpose: The floor is the bottom of the room. The walls touch the floor at a specific point and the art hangs on the wall. The couch touches the floor and maybe the wall but is distinct from both and so on.

The Artek installation breaks that trend. In the installation, the artwork is continuous across all planes and items. The wall artwork extends across the floors as well. The furniture blends to both the walls and the floor, not merely matching it. The entire effect creates a cohesive space, perhaps even a modern space?

I think it’s interesting to postulate on the effects this open thinking has on home furnishings, where your art is not  just put in compartments on a wall, instead it’s able to flow everywhere. Or how your furniture could become much more integrated with the space – even if it’s just aesthetically. The idea of calling into question the division of art and style in a room is kind of exciting. It’s like a fine art and interior design “mash-up” concept.

The idea of not finding the edges where art or the definition of a space ends and the utility begins is a concept that should certainly be explored more. I think it creates a lot of exciting opportunities for the artist and how one lives in such a realm. With the seeming movement of fine art toward decoration, perhaps this is some thinking that could push back the tide a bit. It would have to be through artists who are willing to look beyond the canvas as well as into new materials, not to mention new thought processes. The kind of thinking that is not compartmentalized in small rectangles.

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