I love that emotional collision that happens when faced with a great artwork.
It's that attraction-repulsion thing that sort of mutes the rest of the world for a moment while the ol' brain tries to make sense of what the heart knows: this is really something.
Like Tobias Wong's "New York Story" matchbook he designed for Alessi.
It's an immediately recognizable everyday use object, rendered almost useless. It's a visual quandary: both a tiny artpiece and a mass-marketed item — up to his untimely death in 2010, that is. Now it is clearly a rare collectable art-investment object. The object will never be used, although just the idea of watching the two 'towers' in flame would spark global memory of a horror beyond the destruction of this tiny yet weighty object.
This is the power of playing in the space between everyday things and big ideas.
It's also the subject of a current local retrospective of the young Vancouver-raised artist described in his New York Times obituary as "a designer whose outrageous sendups of luxury goods and witty expropriation of work by other designers blurred the line between conceptual art and design."
Object(ing): The Art/Design of Tobias Wong continues through to February 24, 2013 at the Museum of Vancouver.
The uneasily-defined, sassy and provocative Tobi Wong will be remembered for being a shit-disturber — literally: