Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Open quote

Did you know that count Dracula, the Marquis de Sade and Cinderella all lived in the same house? I didn't believe that either until I came across the fascinating classical book by Walter Benjamin called: "Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction". In the book Benjamin explains that since we live in such a media exposed environment we lose touch with the real origins of things and start to imitate imitations. One example that kind of blew my mind was that the "Disney" fairytale castle's shape is actually based on the house of the "Marquis de Sade" (who is, let's face it, not exactly Prince Charming). The animators at Disney didn't actually know whose castle they were imitating; they themselves were bombarded with so many images from books, television and commercials that for them the castle was just the way people saw mythical houses.
Benjamin calls this phenomenon "quoting" and separates it into different kinds of categories like "Pastiche" and "Simulacrum", which you can click to check on Wikipedia. There's a fine line between "quoting", "copying" and "creating you own version". Since I read Benjamin's book I have developed a little fetish of collecting "quotes" that stumble my way which you can see below. Once you start noticing them it's really amazing to find how common they are. For our part, Nina and I decided to create our own version of Tamara de Lempicka's paintings. Lempicka is my favorite cubist painter and one of the only women cubists in the movement. Tamara herself was quite fashionable and certainly deserves her own post but this will have to do for now.
"Gabrielle d'Estrées et une de ses soeurs" by an unknown artist and quotes by different artistes

La Mort de Marat Jacques - Louis David (on the right) and a quote by fashion photographer Eugenio Recuenco

Violin by Man Ray and a quote by Viktor & Rolf

Vermeer's Painting "Girl Reading a Letter by an Open Window" and a quote by fashion photographer Eugenio Recuenco

Jon Galiano's Nefertiti for Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring 2004 and the source an old Egyptsian statue of Nefertiti

The Marquis de Sade's castle and the Disney version

Nina's version of Tamara De Lempicka's painting "Girl with a book"

Tchelet's version of Tamara de Lempicka, Portrait de La Duchesse de La Salle, 1925


  1. וואו, יש כאן כמה פרשנויות נפלאות לעבודות האומנות.
    מחזק את הדיעה שלי שאופנה זה בסופו של דבר-
    Poetry in motion

  2. I love your versions. :) They're really good!

    Florrie x

  3. AFAIK, the disney castle was inspired by Neuschwanstein:

    But LOL for the De Sade mixup :-P

  4. Art is a never-ending source of inspiration, definitely!

  5. love what you guys did with the TDL's reproductions, especially the accurate work done with the backgrounds.