Nine out of ten times kitsch is simply the last refuge of the dull, desperate to appear interesting.
This is in direct opposition to Peter Ward's Kitsck in sync, which asserts that kitsch is the style-setter's anti-style. In my experience this has only ever been true with a few individuals who were either artists, or, people who viewed themselves as living works of art.
Chinese Girl, by Vladimir Tretchikoff
Vladimir Tretchikoff refused to allow his Chinese Girl to adorn the cover of Ward's book. His work, he maintained, was symbolic realism. And rightly so. After all, Tretchikoff could not be held responsible for his audience's rather limited frame of reference. Instead, Ward chose the work of the French artistic team of Pierre et Gilles for the cover as they cited Tretchikoff as an influence. Which, quite frankly, I do not see.
Pierre et Gilles, Medusa
Neither, Chinese Girl nor Medusa is particularly kitsch. What really separates and further defines the two works is their availability. The work of Pierre et Gilles is produced in the same manner as any fine art photograph and is therefore far less accessible. Tretchikoff' s work on the other hand, as everyone knows, was readily available as inexpensive mass produced reproductions. This, incidentally, made him the most commercially successful artist after Picasso, but gained him none of the aclaim.
Unfortunately many contemporary designers have also opted to travel down this mass produced route for their highly derivative products. Two in particular immediately spring to mind. Time alone will tell. Given the slew of offerings of their goods on ebay, we shan't need to wait long.
Now playing: Bronski Beat - Junk
Tuesday, 18 March 2008