Sunday, March 17, 2013

Matching Shapes

Le Corbusier’s Still Life (1920)

Le Corbusier’s Still Life (1920) is a typical Purist painting. He purified the color scheme to include only neutrals (gray, black, and white) and different shades of green in the picture. He also repeated the same shapes of different object with other objects, curving contours of a guitar in the shoulders of a bottle and in other objects on the table; by tilting the tops of the objects toward the spectator, he gave an added emphasis to their flatness. A motif of circles is echoed in the various openings of the bottles, pipes, and containers.
   This painting reminds me of an advertisement, “The Vinnata,” included in the Kohler’s ad campaign “As I see it.” In Teruggi Page’s “Myth and Photography in Advertising,” Teruggi gives a commentary to 4 advertisements presented in Kohler’s Ad campaign. She highlights Goffman’s classic study of gender in advertisements and notes the sexual availability communicated by the canting poses of female models, suggesting submission and ingratiation.
In the ad “The Vinnata,” the advertisement is selling a kitchen sink faucet, that includes a pull-down spray. An African American woman appears naked behind a tribal vase. She is exoticized: her hair a short natural Afro, large hoops hang on her ears and bracelet both her upper arms; her neck appears unnaturally elongated and is encircled with twenty brass chokers stacked from shoulders to chin. •A large urn with tall narrow neck sits in front of her, becoming her torso. She appears more as human piping than as a woman. She represents the “commodity self” her body is composed of product mediated part, “she is a decorative accessory for the home.” More than a fetishized art object, she has been made a functional adjunct of the product, giving a suggestion of availability.
Though the guitar and the white cylinder object are far from dsiplaying any gender messages, I believe advertisers used inspiration from this painting to use on Kohler ads.

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