Exploring Contemporary Art Franz West Chameleon 2004 Thesis

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¶ … art: Franz West, Chameleon, 2004

Exploring Contemporary Art with Theory (Philosophy of Art)

Franz West, Chameleon, 2004. Collection of the Musee d'art contemporain de Montreal.

Franz West's three-dimensional 2004 creation called simply Chameleon looks like the interior of a brightly-colored green kitchen in its incarnation at Collection of the Musee d'art contemporain de Montreal. Chameleon is not a depiction of a lizard, but a work that superficially suggest the appearance of an interior design, in bright, Brady Bunch, mid-1970s shades of chartreuse. Its strange falseness and homogeneity as the lime green tables and chairs blend in with the walls, underlines the conformities of urban life and the psychological, human desire to blend in with society -- but with brightness and panache. The title suggests concealment, of trying to be 'like' other things in the environment in a half-deliberate, half-unconscious manner. Mimicry comes not through camouflage, but by standing out just as much, and in the same way as everything else. The tables and the chairs are all bright green, the same colors as the walls. The chairs are evidently painted as their backs are brown, but this brown merely blends in with the wood flooring of the kitchen. The furniture looks cheap, disposable, and is very evidently a manufactured commodity.

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The use of the ordinary objects of everyday life to question modern-day values is typical of West's work since the early 1970s, which often involve the use of familiar objects and pieces of furniture, which are given an "archetypal dimension" in their elevation to the realms of the exhibition platforms of museums, where they are subjected to the gaze of patrons.

Thesis on Exploring Contemporary Art Franz West Chameleon 2004 Assignment

In Chameleon, its chairs, paint, a table, and a kitchen floor "each in turn becomes the basis for a critical, provocative and deliberately insolent meditation on the nature and scope of the act of making art. In Chameleon, West uses one of his favorite strategies, that of disguising the utilitarian nature of the objects, in this case, a round table and eight chairs. It is color that rules within this austere installation.

Although the most recent exhibition of Chameleon involved the use of bright green, which seems befitting the title of the work, it is noteworthy that the solid color of the table and chairs actually "varies according to the choice of those displaying the work.

" The process of displaying of the work makes the piece a collaborative effort, a work of performance in terms of its display. "By requiring this participation on the part of the collector or museum, on the one hand, West is insisting on the real importance of color as opposed to the falsely decorative function often accorded to it, and on the other hand, he is giving this installation, this skilful combination of painting and sculpture, a conceptual and existential dimension that is reasserted each time it is exhibited.

West himself has resisted grand, subsuming theories of what he is trying to achieve with his art: "Early on I realized that the purely visual experience of an artwork was somehow insufficient. I wanted to go beyond the purely optical and include tactical qualities as well. My works aren't things one just looks at, but things that the viewer is invited to handle. There have been many theories of art that try to break down the border between art and the world, but I don't find such attempts to be particularly meaningful. Art remains art. I really see my work as quite compatible with the l'art pour 'lart philosophy. One may think that I try to bring the art object out into the world since my works sometimes appear to have a practical function, but really it's the other way around: things in the world can, under certain special circumstances, enter the realm of art. And, in fact, once they have entered this realm they are art.

" In other words, the stuff of everyday… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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