Sunday, 28 June 2009

Art for Art's Sake?

If a picture paints a thousand words, what on earth is this one trying to say?

The above was on the wall of my hotel room (the one with the DIY toaster). Now, I suppose it beats the usual anodyne vase of flowers or blurry-splodgy abstract thing that you usually get in these places, but I've got to wonder what the (no doubt hideously expensive) interior designer was thinking when he/she chose pictures of cutlery to decorate my room.

Maybe it was there to plant a subconscious desire in my mind along the lines of: Oooh, look at that, a picture of a knife and fork. Hmmm, must order room service (£5 tray charge + gratuity, thank you very much).

Maybe the deadline for the design was almost up and the designer panicked, looked around and all he/she could see was some tableware. Out comes the camera-phone, click, and hey presto, that'll be £50,000 please for a stylish modern design with a fresh contemporary feel and urban accents or some such bollocks.


Mind you. In my next hotel, they had this:

Now, I quite like this one. It's not a vase of flowers, nor is it a pretentious finger-painting done by some up-his-own-arse twit who thinks that if you can recognise what the subject of the painting actually is then he's done it wrong. OK, the subject matter is not the most inspiring, but it's fun.

And then there's this. These Big Steel Balls were dotted around the city centre to remind everyone of Sheffield's steel-making past.

I love these, they're so simple and elegant - and shiny. Shiny is a much under-rated aspect of aesthetics in my book.

Damn! I have just this very moment realised why that interior designer snapped pictures of cutlery. Sheffield is famous for its cutlery production – or was, anyway.

So, I should take back all the rotten things I said about the cutlery picture at the start, right?

As if!
If you're going to hang a picture, it should be doing more than filling up a bare space on the wall. I don't expect to find a Damien Hurst Dead Aminal in Formaldehyde adorning my hotel room, but I'm sick of seeing public spaces being decorated with pictures which have all the visual impact of blancmange.
There's a difference between inoffensive and insignificant.