Thursday, August 15, 2013

so modern art or future fossils?........

If you're an Instagram-er you will have no doubt stumbled across what has been so inspiringly named 'The Flatlay'. An assortment of food/clothes/shoes/jewellery/miscellaneous objects/expensive sunglasses arranged ever so delicately and precisely upon a, generally white, surface and photographed as if the camera operator were standing upon a chair. In fact I believe this is often the case in the flatlays involving sustenance of the food variety.

The emergence of the flatlay, and its ubiquitous nature on social media has led me to the question proposed in the title of this here jumble of words.

Is The Flatlay modern art or in fact an assortment of future fossils?

I'm no art critic, (I'm sure this is exceedingly clear), and to be honest most modern art confuses me as much as it intrigues me, but I do wonder: Is the flatlay art? After all, art is subjective and personal and inclusive and exclusive at the same time, all things I associate with fashion and now the flatlay too. The flatlay has a sense of the abstract, depending on what's included, and a sense of realism too, as obviously all items are in fact real. Yes my knowledge of what constitutes art outside of what appears on runways is dismal I know, but let's persevere if just for shits and giggles.

So is a random collection of items photographed and uploaded to social media really equivalent to say Monet's Water Lilies or Picasso's Guernica? Perhaps the answer is that we may not consider them art now, but like the comic book work of Roy Lichtenstein we will later on. I wonder, if the flatlay is in fact modern art, will it be as revered as the works of Renoir and Degas. Will copies of flatlays be found on the walls of the Tate and the MONA?

Will art lovers marvel at our fascination with seemingly meaningless objects? So many questions.

Or is the lure of the flatlay in fact more aligned with the archeology department, and should flatlays more accurately be described as future fossils?

Like scientists today have used fossils from a few thousand years ago to learn about a time in history far beyond our knowledge, will they too use these flatlays to discover more about society circa 2013?

Will future generations struggle to comprehend an abundance of green juices and kale chips, often pondering what that red triangular shaped fruit with the seeds on the outside could possibly be. I am of course assuming that Earth at some point in the future will be void of strawberries. Will they catalogue our fascination with leather and Karen Walker shades as obviously meaning an Earth that was both cold and really bright? 

So modern art or future fossils? Or both? Or just another iteration of a narcissistic society that created the selfie? Snuck that last one in right at the end.

Times like this I wish I had a crystal ball, or a DeLorean* or just some magical ability to live forever so I could see for myself.

For now, long live the flatlay. Cause what's life without selfies and flatlays celebrating ourselves and our ability to visually merchandise said selves. 



*you got the Back to The Future reference right, it's a classic of classics.