Memoryhouse

It’s not as cold anymore here in Austria. I’m working on a branding and marketing campaign prototype, which I’ve decided to increase in scope. Progress has been tough over some time—I’ll spare you the rhetoric. As one of the consequences, the 14/7 schedule I had already managed to implement took some damage, along with my circadian rhythm. Regularity is perhaps the most crucial element in my workflow. Now I’m refitting my brain for that routine and getting back to optimal health, which is proving difficult to be patient with, in order to make more headway and break through those next two dimensional barriers: storyboarded procedural animation and… the other one I won’t jinx. Keeping an abundance of realism at bay, I’d like to write about one of the more surprising things to have happened lately.

By suggestion of the Winter sun hinting at the season’s shift, and a considerate friend, I treated myself to an exhibition—a first in forever. It was a three-way show of Sagmeister & Walsh, Koloman Moser, and a Swiss collector’s Chinese contemporary art. Even though journeying to improve as a creator, the draw for me, and maybe strangley so, wasn’t Stefan Sagmeister’s Eureka!-moment of ornamental beauty, and certainly not the contemporary art, of which I’ll refrain from commenting on, but Kolo Moser. A few years ago, I attempted to outline what visually inspired me; eventually, it turned into something amounting to “Klimt and space”. The Vienna Secession, particularly in regards to painters, greatly wielded its influence over me, especially during adolescence. Thinking about it now, that may have been because of its distinct, mesmerizing way of abstracting natural elements and unapologetically expressing both grace and decadence, at times in the same subject. Particularly the idea of honouring virtue by way of allegory I continue to be intrigued by and aspire towards in my own machinations.

The turn of the 20th century, before economic chaos and war set in, was perhaps the most beautiful and temperate period in Europe, following the kitsch of the late baroque era. Owing to the prevalence of Alphonse Mucha, another influence of mine, the modern style—art nouveau—really took off in Britain and France, inspiring the Jugendstil in Germany and consequently Vienna’s seceding movement. The notion of universal artwork took hold, leading to all types of craftspeople finding the courage to take up new disciplines for the purpose of springing their visions to life in the most complete way. Paul Rand famously said: “Everything is design. Everything!” This holds especially true for the luminaries of the art noveau age, and Koloman Moser, part of the secession movement led by Gustav Klimt, was one of them. He founded the Wiener Werkstätte, a production community for visionaries, together with Josef Hoffmann, and did everything, from its official corporate branding and monograms for all members to regular graphic design posters for Ver Sacrum, the Secession’s magazine and primary medium of communication, carpentry, glaziery, tapestry, jewellry, pattern making, architecture and fashion. He even returned to his original discipline, oil painting, later on. I feel lucky that so much of his work, including sketches that show his design approach in full detail for study, remains here in Vienna, available to the public.

Ken

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