Arts pick: downward spiral

sunglasses
Today’s arts pick is another outdoor installation, this one representing the downward spiral of a once-useful object into a total state of degradation.

The piece, an item designed to protect and aid vision, has been debased in a myriad of ways, and the artist uses every means at his disposal to emphasize its pitiful condition. The most obvious device is the deliberate destruction of the lenses–their shattered state is clearly an indication of the subject’s current irrelevance. The artist reinforces this technique by leaving the lens fragments inside their respective frames as a bitter reminder of a time when the subject was able to fulfill its purpose.

Just as important as the trodden lenses, however, is the surrounding canvas. If the lens fragments symbolize the subject’s unfulfilled potential, the decision to set the piece in pavement highlights its resulting insignificance. The lack of contrast between the subject and canvas–notice how some components fade into the background–ensures that the piece would be almost invisible to passers-by, except for the outlining frames.

This exhibit is on display in Philadelphia, at 16th and Fairmount.

6 responses to “Arts pick: downward spiral”

  1. DCA

    Here is an artist conveying her awakening as one who clearly sees the world as it is, as one who sees the truth. Hers was not merely the life of a Pollyanna, for surely then her lenses would have been rose-colored to reflect her naivete. No, hers was the life of the blind, the unquestioning, the blissfully (and perhaps intentionally) ignorant.

    But no more. She has cast off her blinders–even crushed them–and now sees the light.

  2. Becky

    And now she’s regretting her rash action. The light is harsh, man.

  3. Sassy J

    I think the fact that the fragments remain within the frame is a testament to determination in the face of adversity. The mosaic affect–almost a daisy–reflects the need to break out of the pre-molded prescribed shape of the original lenses and asserts some individuality. Plus, the shapes echo the mottled paved surface–and one little piece above the upper right has ventured out beyond the frame into the brave, new (and perhaps terrifying) world.

  4. Sassy J

    Ummmm, is Claire sick or something? Where is our resident Philistine?

  5. Becky

    Yeah, Clair’s being a real slacker. He goes through non-communicative phases.

    The thread seems empty without someone saying, “It’s a pair of sunglasses that got stuck in the asphalt and run over by a car.”

  6. Clair

    Actually, I don’t think that they are stuck but the rest is accurate.

    And BTW, I am not Philistine. I’ve never even been to Asia.