Karina Nimmerfall
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[2015] Life as Art Form

Aluminum dry wall construction, wall paint, framed computer-generated image
Dimensions variable (approx. 436 x 275 x 86 cm)

New (luxury) housing projects in urban metropolitan areas worldwide seem to have returned mainly to bourgeois residential culture. In addition to adapted concepts of mid-century modern elements—such as large glass facades or open spaces—one can find especially the stylistic idioms of the 18th century, whether Sophie Charlotte, Queen of Prussia (Kronprinzengärten Berlin) or Louis XV (Baccharat New York). Within the advertising portfolios of these "reconstructed fictions" (Niklas Maak), housewives shop in luxury malls, relax by the pool on a roof top terrace, and—when the evening arrives—meet their husbands for dinner in the nearby exclusive restaurant. One could say that the historicizing design of these visions of a perfect life is paying respect to values of an era that was dominated by aristocracy and absolutism, as well as the beginnings of industrialization and large-scale capitalism.

Life as Art Form (the title quotes a real estate slogan) combines a large-scale computer-generated interior with a dry wall construction, to become a three-dimensional wall tableau. Drawing on common 3-D visualization practices, the interior consists of standard décor found in various luxury real estate portfolios, but with a subversive twist: The interior's iconography reveals details (patterns of the carpet and pillow, magazines, painting and furniture) that refer to the history of politically engaged women, and early radical women's movements—all symbols that undermine the image, and question conventional representational patterns of the real estate industry, as well as their social values.

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