Litrerature review

Is there room for non-functional art in modern society?

Modern society is quickly running out of space. We design new and extravagant architectural pieces everyday, using up more and more of the land space available. Where will we design next,  when all the space is used up do we begin to take up ocean space or air space?

To say we are quickly running out of space to design, a popular trend has taken over contemporary art. Art which is produced for interpretation of the theory behind it.Art which has no function within the exhibition or after the exhibition.Is this a good idea? Is their room for this non functional art in our forever growing modern society.?

“A picture is worth a lot more than a thousand words. No amount of words can describe an image or an object exactly. Whether it is a picture, a sculpture or a work of architecture. This is because words constitute one kid of language and imagery another, thereby creating a need for translation.”1

This is exactly why we all love art, art is individual to us all and translates different views on different observers. But no matter what the theory or method behind the art, is this still important when the modern art has no function. A painting can be hung and admired for century’s, sculptures, furniture and architecture can all be treasured and used throughout time.

A prime example of non functional art is Gabriel Orozco at the Tate modern exhibition

“Much of the work is travel inspired, and an obvious appreciation of world and native art methods is what gives much of his work its substance. His use of found items is reworked again in “Chicotes” which is composed of burst tyres found on roads in Mexico.”2

This work was  merely just collected scraps of shredded tyre layout along the floor of Tate modern gallery. Even with the means to inspire people to translate their own theories of what this meant. Is there a logical reason why the issue should be thought of, as the exhibition piece has no function in exhibition on after it, just purely aesthetical. Perhaps if the exhibition piece was more practical and were designed so that the piece of art exhibited could have function after. For example if the tire shreds were to be woven to make a unique upholstered chair it would still create awe at the exhibit but would also give an art lover the opportunity to use and own a diverse piece of art for life-giving it practical function.

This would also solve a few issues which are globally being identified. There is a hype for sustainability now and making sure we recycle and reuse as much as possible to help our environment. When you look at most modern art pieces they are made up from reused materials creating a piece of work interpreting the issues we face with today’s society. Instead of just interpreting these issues with non-functional art why can’t we address them with practical designs advancing in the solutions for modern society, i.e. making furniture, structures, art pieces from these reused materials they use already. Therefore still creating exhibit pieces but also giving them function after.

Therefore I address the question again – Is there room for non-functional art in modern society?

Reading through my research there has been explanations why designers design modern art because of the interpretations and translations that engage the observers, but I still cannot seem to find understanding why the art isn’t being made for functional use. Fascination and interest has to be caught straight away to become a great piece of art but a good designer can also do this with giving meaning and practicality to a design.

In response through the research and keeping in consideration the global issues we are facing with space and sustainable energy. Then I do not belive there is room for non functional art. Our designers today should be practically helping modern society with functional designs rather than just translating interpretations with these imitations of art. Just as this was understood in history it is still not being portrayed in present.

“For plato, visual apart was mimesis greek for”immitation”and techne or “skill”, and beauty was an essential ideal that expressed the truth of things. But beauty and truth, in Plato’s view, were of a higher order than art. In fact, he had little interests in works of art because they were neither useful imitations of essential ideas nor the ideas themselves.”3




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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