contextual review


To start i believe Los carpinteros is a prime example to show the current trends in design in modern society.Their work incorporates aspects of architecture, design, and sculpture to create installations and drawings which seek to negotiate the divide between inhabited spaces, social consciousness, and non-functional art objects.

 “ The work was inspired by the Pan American Stadium, constructed in Havana in 1991.  Between the two light sources one feels akin to a specimen being observed, recalling the notion of being put “on the spot.”..With Luces del estadio del Pueblo, the threat of observation is palpable as the installation acts as an allusion to Cuba’s totalitarian regime.”1

This is a great design with an interesting interpretation, as we all have those moments  were we feel as if we have been put on the spot but to literally create this experience is outstanding. Even though i do believe modern art should become functional this seems to be an exception as they are already pieces of functional equipment purely just put together to create an atmosphere for this exhibit.

 Another piece of art in this exhibition was “The second gallery houses Cuarteto, a melted salsa band complete with drums, bass, and congas.  The work, while whimsical, literalizes the idea of a “meltdown,” here, a reference to the despondency related to constraint of an oppressive political regime.  The puddles of glossy acrylic formally recall the floor paintings of artist Lynda Benglis.  This reference highlights the artists’ awareness of themselves within an art historical continuum, while the childlike squiggles formed by the puddles point once again to Los Carpinteros’ ease and sense of humor.”4

Unlike the first piece discussed Luces del estadio del Pueblo this meltdown piece does portray the nonfunctional debate produced from the research gathered in the literature. Where as the equipment in the first piece still has its functional use, the equipment used in the meltdown took functional objects and created them into non functional with an interesting translation. This was an incredible exhibition by Los carpinteros but i do wander about the ethics of some of the pieces and their functional values.

As discussed in the literature review, the non functional piece “Chicotes” which is comprised of burst tyres found on roads in Mexico, designed by Gabriel Orozoco at Tate modern gallery. It is greatly compared to the design “30 pieces of silver”by Cornelia Parker. Just looking at the imaged you can see the comparison just to start as they are displayed in their galleries.

“30 Pieces of Silver.”  In this work she took items that someone might use everyday such as, forks, plates, and other pieces of silver and then she went to the extreme of having it all rolled over by a steam rolling.  She displayed the items in 30 different circular forms and had each suspended from the ceiling.  These 30 circular forms of silver take up an entire room.  The ideas that she comes up with are amazing, as well as the meaning behind each of her works.  In this work she took something that had so much use and wealth associated with it and then she completely destroyed all that meaning by taking away the value of the objects.”

The interpretation of this piece was quite clever as the objects reflect wealth but the act of flattening them took the wealth away from the objects. But this still is representing the growth of non functional art, these pieces of silver are once again laid on the gallery floor and all function has been stripped away. Could they not be introduced into a new form of furniture such as being wedged between glass slabs on a table top to represent the elegance of dining at the table which seems to be lost on modern society who resume to eating in social spaces such as the living room or on the go.

After reviewing a few great pieces on contemporary art i conclude with the Tate  modern gallery extension itself as a piece of great contemporary art. Even though this piece classes itself as architecture this represents my whole view of functional art , the design translates everything the tate modern gallery stands for and yet as being aesthetically pleasing it has full functional value as being a gallery.

 This is a perfect example to conclude the review for both literature and contextual. The global issues we face with running out of space and sustainable materials. That there is no room for non functional art, so why can’t designers of today create pieces to represent the issues we face today. This is exactly what has been visualised here taking the interpretation literally and creating a practical aesthetic design. Not just an imitation of art values but a practical interpretation of what I stand for when it comes to contemporary art in modern society.

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About hannahruthkellett

I am currently doing my Masters in interior design, this blog is to reflect and inspire my progress through out my time on the course. View all posts by hannahruthkellett

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