The Contraposto Project
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Contraposto Living (aka Contraposto Home Décor), screen captures from website retrieved December, 2015 from contrapostoliving.com.
In 1998 I founded Contraposto Home Décor, an artwork that took the form of a legitimate e-business selling home accents. Its equivocal nature as both an artwork and a business caught unassuming visitors off-guard with its playful critique of Western traditions relative to the construction of the home. As the title suggests, contraposto is a posture of leisure that appropriately infers a kind of passive relaxation bound up in Victorian notions of the home as haven. But it also suggests a more subversive notion in that as it refers to a standing posture, it is one of passivity; if one is standing counterpoised (in a contraposto posture) one is not prepared for action.
For the better part of a decade, Contraposto was my sole cultural contribution. Through it I earned an MFA and a tenured teaching position. But for the most part, this project operated under the radar of the contemporary art world. It was in this subversive space that I performed gentle social interventions while simultaneously elaborating on the tradition of (and suggesting a future for) conceptual art and institutional critique. Somewhat ironically, I went about this using highly sensual modalities, often infusing so-called ‘visual’ art with aural, haptic, and olfactory dimensions. What follows is a chronological overview of the Contraposto Project. Some pieces of the project had finite durations, while others were much more ambiguous. Each piece of the project could be experienced on its own, though it often pointed the audience toward other pieces, which added complexity to the narrative. The temporal overlap and the self-referentiality worked to create a sort of feedback loop that disoriented audiences, often provoking the most commonly asked question: “Is this for real?”
On Contraposto's Website (December 1998 - December 2015)
The Contraposto Home Décor Co. website is product-driven; the company reduces masterpieces of World Culture to the status of the consumable home accent—candles, soaps, garden sculpture, etc. Contraposto manufactures all of its goods using a variety of low-tech mass production techniques. The website has gone through many redesigns since it first launched in 1998. Each iteration attempted to reflect the Internet’s social and aesthetic impact on digital and physical culture.