Karina Nimmerfall
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[2015] Life as Art Form

Aluminum drywall construction, wall paint, framed computer-generated image
Dimensions variable (approx. 310 x 436 x 20 cm)

Contemporary (luxury) housing trends 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—the architectural design mostly quotes the stylistic idioms of the 18th and early 19th century. Whether from Sophie Charlotte, Queen of Prussia (Kronprinzengärten, Berlin) or Louis XV (Baccarat, New York), within the advertising portfolios of these “reconstructed fictions” (Niklas Maak), women “float” through lavishly furnished rooms, relax on the roof terrace, shop in luxurious malls, and meet their life partners in the evening in a nearby exclusive restaurant. It seems that the historicizing design of these visions of a perfect life pays 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 drywall 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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