Bringing Art Home
Long gone are the days of art being solely confined to the gallery space. The merging of ‘fine’ and ‘decorative’ art has steadily increased in recent years. In the past the ornamentation associated with the decorative arts would once have been branded kitsch by those in the fine art sphere. Indeed Adolf Loos gave a damning lecture on exactly this in 1908 titled ‘Ornament and Crime’ in which he attacked any form of unnecessary ornament labelling it degenerate. However more recently the appetite for combining these two once disparate worlds, namely art and design, begins to resemble an art form in itself.
Grayson Perry and Tracey Emin are two of the better known contemporary artists appropriating domestic craft techniques in innovative and challenging ways; questioning our stereotyping and hierarchical structure of certain artistic mediums. Perry’s renowned work ‘The Walthamstow Tapestry’ explores consumerism, modern day life and our obsession with brand culture; all executed within the medium of a large scale tapestry. Emin too, shows how the adoption of unexpected techniques such as applique and quilt making can prove all the more provocative and subversive when dealing with notions such as self-expression and personal revelation.
When it comes to the meeting of these two once disparate worlds, Sonia Delaunay can’t help but spring to mind. Her work straddled a diverse range of media, moving from painting through to textiles and interior design; each medium proving equally powerful in expressing her fascination with colour and abstraction. Working in Paris in the early 1900’s, alongside paintings Delaunay would also exhibit cushions, textiles and other traditionally domestic objects. These were generally dismissed by critics as having, ‘no more than decorative value.’ However, in today’s contemporary art world, we now recognise Delaunay as a woman ahead of her time, treating every material she encountered, including her own apartment, as a canvas for her own artwork.
It is this very synthesis of art and design that prompted us to explore the potential of wallpaper as artwork. Following in the footsteps of those who have inspired us, we hope to further this meeting of mediums. Each of our designs is a blend of both conceptual art and wallpaper and (we hope) a means of bringing art home.
– Fay Sonkin