Walker Artwork of the Month – November 2006

casablanca_cabinet.jpgLiverpool Walker Art Gallery – Artwork of the Month – November, 2006
‘The Casablanca Cabinet’, by Ettore Sotsass

About the artwork
The protests in recent years against international capitalism and consumerism make it easy to forget their ancestor, the protest movement of 1968 and thereabouts. Designers were caught up in this movement. They started looking critically at what modern design had been supposed to do. Modernists had said that design would help solve social problems, that it would make people’s lives better. But they could see that the effort in modern design was going in quite different directions. Modernism was providing a sort of official corporate style for international big business, a style that was rational but faceless, soulless and bland. There were a lot of beige leather sofas, things in plain colours, chrome and glass coffee-tables. All so, so correct, well-balanced, tasteful. And big business was peddling consumerism, selling the dream of a perfect lifestyle with relentless optimism. The Italian designer Ettore Sotsass, who designed this cabinet, described the dream like this:

‘young people running in slow motion along the Hawaian beaches, hair blowing in the wind and white teeth flashing smiles because their toothpaste is infallible.’

Gallery Talk
Free lunchtime talks on Tuesday 14 and Thursday 23 November, 13-13.30. Meet in the Walker Café.

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