Graphic Design by LeBlu
Enter any major art fair: The Armory, Frieze, Art Basel, Masterpiece, ZONA Maco, and you’ll be greeted with a hundred reflections. In booth after booth you’ll turn corners and find surfaces prepared for the art world’s engendered narcissism, countless selfies captured in rose tinted concave curves, exaggerated mirrors mirroring childhood fascinations with the fun fair. We could all do without these price-tagged ponds and the outright irony that non-absorbent surfaces absorb our vanity.
What else can an object reflect, other than a face? This is the question that Cluster Crafts, the latest addition to the Cluster Art Fair programme, asks.
In an age of increasing sociopolitical and environmental awareness our lifestyles are increasingly orientated towards sustainability, correspondingly, the material culture we surround ourselves with needs to reflect this. A plant pot can be formed from new ecologically neutral matter or cast with recycled waste, our coffee tables can offer alternative incomes for subsistence farmers, new economies can be created and pathways out of poverty can be fostered across the globe. It doesn’t stop there. With new business models and methodologies societal inequalities can be fought against, gender discrimination and racial bias combatted through the creation of opportunity and subsequent access to education.
Other objects can ask questions of us. They can be metaphorical mirrors probing our responses, actions and inactions. What if a plate prompted a revaluation of our relation with the meat industry or a chair battled against the differentiation of the sexes? Is it possible for a rug to bring forward considerations of our heritage, ingrained notions of identity or political position? Can a lamp question our energy consumption or become a beacon for product longevity?
For Cluster, Craft is not a term relegated to our history. Beyond mere aesthetics it is an active component in making tomorrow, a reflection of who we are and who we want to be.