Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Whilst I'm on the subject ...

 of walls and Modernism, let me quote Mr Frankl again.
"Simplicity is the keynote of modernism, but there are certain other characteristics that help to make a thing modern. These could be summed up as follows: continuity of line (as we find in the stream-line body of a car or in the long unbroken lines in fashions;) contrasts in colours and sharp contrasts in light and shadow created through definite and angular mouldings and by broken planes. Things modern also have in them a definite rhythm such as we find in modern dancing and music and in the frank accentuating of form in fashions. They avoid imitation in material. They do not pretend to make wood, resemble ivory but merely attempt to bring forward, in the best possible way, the natural beauty inherent in the material. They make a virtue of the material itself. Steel becomes steel. Copper is copper. Wood is wood. And paint is allowed to be paint and not made to resemble marble.

"Informality is another characteristic of things that are modern, for it is also one of the earmarks of our present-day life. It is this trait, so characteristic of our time which has perhaps more than any other doomed not only the family album, but the fussy table on which it lay and the over decorated parlour in which the table stood.
"What is modern? To be modern is to be consistent, it is to bring out an artistic harmony in our lives and necessary environments, a harmony between our civilization and our individual art impulses. What is our own art? Our own art is a creation that expresses ourselves and our time. It is an expression that is alive and while it acknowledges its debts to the arts of the past, it has no part in them."

Interesting, don't you think, the early language of lifestyle marketing, (remember this is 1928)? It differs very little from the modern impulse towards aspiration and the subtle use of envy as a marketing tool.
Even more interesting is how that one of the Seven Deadly Sins, Envy, is one one day a week precisely that - a deadly sin - but for the rest of the week the sin is repackaged as aspiration and is the engine of the capitalist society that we live in.
Whilst I'm on the subject ....

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