Saturday, 10 October 2009

I don't get it

Is the financial gain so significant it justifies the bastardisation of the esoteric?

Four from Oly:

swan oil painting

sunda ornament
cast resin ornament w/ metal base (sold individually)

saw bills
cast resin with black wood base

albert and fiona busts
resin busts with hand-appled green verdi-gris finish
albert (right), fiona (left)

Four from life:

Trumpeter Swan, plate 406 from Birds of America, 1827-1835
by John James Audubon

Early 19th Century whale's vertebra

Collection of mounted 19th Century sawfish blades

Bust of Dame Edith Sitwell
by Maurice Lambert

You decide.

Now playing: Arctic Monkeys - Fake Tales of San Francisco (radio edit)
via FoxyTunes


Debra Healy said...

Does this mean esoteric is now mainsteam? Democratized?

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

My fear is how close we are coming to place where no one cares about the difference. Shudder.

Pigtown-Design said...

I hate those repros! Are people just too lazy to look for the real things? I get that an original Audubon is out of most people's price range, but if you hunt for the others, you can find them.

I adore the sawfish on the little mounts. They're fascinating to me.

little augury said...

Apparently & poorly done so to boot. It is worse even that some are ignorantly happy with them about the house. Always provocative. G

Mrs. Blandings said...

Sometimes it's better to just turn your head the other way.

Jill said...

I'm with you on this. If it's not the real thing, I don't want it. There are plenty of wonderful pieces in this World...the hunt is the most fun.

Blue said...

Walk around any furniture or decorating store or magazine in this country and see knock-offs all around. If a to-the-trade manufacturer has it today the decor/furniture catalogues will have a version tomorrow, and it is what most want - the look but not the authenticity of price and provenance. It is the "look" that drives the factories and allies interior design with the seasonal changes of fashion. Here today gone tomorrow - to the landfill.

Given that manufacturers cannot copyright designs there is little chance of this changing. The moral aspects are subsumed in the drive to profit.

mamacita said...

I think those Audubons are copyright-free now. Do you think it would be better to have a copy of the original rather than the imitation?

Muscato said...

I would actually love to have a faithful (and attributed!) reproduction of the Lambert bust, but this one - beyond the horror of referring to Dame Edith as "Fiona" - is dreadful. What are people thinking?

Or is the problem that they're not?

Errant Aesthete said...

I believe ignorance is behind all of it. I remember being appalled years ago to learn that people preferred the taste of Tang over orange juice because that was their introduction. Their attitudes, in other words, were formed on imitation, not authenticity, and they had neither the curiosity nor the intelligence to probe and/or experiment further.

H. L. Mencken spoke of never "underestimating the taste of the American public," coining the quasi-scientific term "Boobus Americanus." Enlarge the audience to include the rest of the world and you've got a perfectly apt description.

HOBAC said...

mamacita - a poster would be better than the imitation. At least it would be honest.

HOBAC said...

Mrs B - how does that quote go - "all that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

Clearly resin is the Devil's handiwork.

Mrs. Blandings said...

HOBAC - you're right, of course, keep fighting the good fight. I'll do what I can from here.


Oh my, those busts are positively ugly. You raise interesting questions though...

Leon Krier wrote about the "cult and fetishization of ruins", and although he was talking about a different subject entirely (architecture) I can't help but wonder if some of our distaste at the idea of a cast saw bill (disregarding the quality) is actually a kind of fetishization of age and the romantic notions that surround owning an object of "importance."

Obviously, casting a copy of any object strips it of its story- people that may have held it, functions it may have had, places it may have been, etc. Therefore, the only way to appreciate a copy is on a purely decorative level.

But, is it inherently wrong to appreciate something like a cast resin saw bill entirely for its form? Or as a small piece of an aesthetic vision? Geoffrey Bennison was known to incorporate MANY "fakes" and look-alikes that were far from the "real-thing," all to achieve a final look that was anything but reproduced or ordinary.


Correction- In my earlier comment I meant to write that Renzo Mongiardino was known to use look-alikes, not Geoffrey Bennison (what a world of difference).

My apologies!

soodie :: said...

Does no one dare to try to have an original idea anymore?

Have we become that numb and unaware and uncaring?

It perpetuates lies, keeps people ignorant of history and makes stealing ideas acceptable.

Mr. Bluehaunt said...

I was appalled when I first saw the bills and bones at the gift show last year. I would love them if they were cast in plaster or cement.. The forms are beautiful, but I hate that they are faux-painted and pretending to be something they are not.

Lauren brought up some great points!

HOBAC said...

Lauren - Mr Bluehaunt is absolutely correct, you do raise some very interesting points. And, the casts in plaster, sans faux finish, would have been perfect. That would have elevated them to an entirely different level — that of scholarship and connoisseurship much in the spirit of the era of the Grand Tour. To me, as they are, they are really no different from artificial flowers.

An Aesthete's Lament said...

I continued to astounded by this. Not surprised, but astounded. And saddened.

An Aesthete's Lament said...

Charles de Beistegui used openly faked works of art at Groussay, but somehow, one forgives him.

home before dark said...

This discussion was delicious. From around the world people of all ages weighed in. Some questioning. Some venting. Some agreement.Many lamenting. It was like being seated a dinner party where EVERYONE was interested and interesting. Now how often does that happen?

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Whilst imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, there are many poor imitations of the real things. Seen side by side with the real deal, each seems a very poor imitation, lacking the "life" of the original.

In my book it is one thing to take an idea and run with it (but please credit the influence); quite another to knock off an imitation. Perhaps it does have to do with sincerity of effort over concern for profit?

I own white plaster coral pieces, couldn't find or afford the real red stuff I was interested in. Their shape pleases me.