guest post for YHBHS
"Beige, black and white were my colors of choice back then. Then here was and all their bright colors, fake wood grain, haphazard construction and nonsense. It was too much. When I came to be the age those designers were then, it started to make sense. "
(All text and photographs by Christopher Andrews)
"I have been interested in the work of for some time now and he has influenced so many in such a way that it is perhaps undetected. Ideas about color, form and materials, all changed with him. Even looking at the current fashion trend of color, the influence, direct or not, is there. Look at the Spring 2011 collection for Jil Sander and it is difficult not to compare it to some of the best of Sottsass ceramic and glass work.
Those shapes and color combination are almost exact. Some designers are constantly creating work that desperately tries to exceed it's time, as if they are worried about their creations not having a long life. I am not sure if this was a concern for Sottsass because what he created lives totally in the moment and in that moment, this object is to be enjoyed, thought humorous, believed useful, understood creative, or even misunderstood to be something else.
Ettore Sottsass created pleasure and a connection with play. The furniture he did for Memphis was a nod to the Italian art deco furniture he had to have known. It was dissected, interrupted and reconfigured in bright colors and childish references. In it's obvious artificiality, the Memphis furniture looks of it's time and yet still stands above it, like good design really should.
Not long ago I visited a small but lovely exhibition of Sottsass' work at the gallery space of the French fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa. Looking at piece after piece I was reminded of seeing them the first time, as a kid, in magazines and design catalogs. I have to admit I was not in love with it back then. I was a kid with rather conservative tastes and was desperately trying to reconcile why I thought , Breuer and Mies was a great combination.
Beige, black and white were my colors of choice back then. Then here was and all their bright colors, fake wood grain, haphazard construction and nonsense. It was too much. When I came to be the age those designers were then, it started to make sense. As a kid I want to grow up and be sophisticated and as an adult, I hope to retain a bit of youthfulness and play.
Ettore Sottsass understood this extremely well. As far as my own work is concerned, his influence is probably not so obvious, but like him I play on the sense of the real and the artificial.
Are my photos current are old? Is that a photo or a painting? He could break things down to their simplest forms. This is something I try to do when photographing architecture. He even made common things abstract and I like doing this by adjusting the angle and position, making use of a shadow to trick the eye into thinking the object is something else. Perhaps more than anything really, it is the feeling of giving energy to something, which I probably take from Sottsass the most.
He was a true creator and this is something I also hope to be.
Christopher Andrews is a Paris based American photographer...
All text and photographs by Christopher Andrews... thank you....
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