Curation Corner: The Power of a Frame

Hi guys, what’s good? In this week’s episode about James Unsworth’s ‘Girth and Mirth’ I used Curation Corner to explain how framing an image changes what it is and how it is perceived. Here is a hilarious example:

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Story time:

My dad, Papa Stronach, is a lover of the arts and has helped instill a love and respect of art within me from a very young age. I once walked into his house to see this framed on the wall. This. Framed. On the wall. Make no mistake, this is exactly what you think it is. This is the flat-pack instructions for an IKEA toilet brush.

My dad, probably amused by the absurdity of this image and its existence (perhaps thinking about the artist who was given the task of illustrating this) decided in to pick up one of the many frames lying about his house and mount it on his wall. After doing this and stepping back, what started as a joke became quite a humorous, but pleasing, aesthetic. The act of framing this image had changed what it was by giving it value and inviting people to spend a moment looking at it. It is within this that the humour lies as, upon further inspection, one realises that this scrap of paper was once packaged with a Swedish toilet brush. A viewer may even spend a moment to look again and just double check that it is not in fact a piece of pretentious contemporary art that they simply misunderstood. But no. It is exactly what it is.

Who the hell would frame that!? My father, everybody.

But I can’t say I disagree with him. I enjoy the humor of this object and yet there is also something I find quite appealing about the minimal aesthetic, the balance of the composition, the size of the image and the way it sits in the frame. I like it so much in fact that when Papa Stronach did a bit of a declutter recently, I tool it off his hands. He gave me the frame, thinking I could use it for some of my own artwork, but once I got it home I couldn’t help but feel that I was going to end up hanging this on my studio wall. Not to get too artsy-fartsy (but I have to use my art degree for something, right guys!), this object feels like a post modernist comment on global consumerism, capitalist culture and the profound stupidity this appears to breed. Again, someone explain to me why this had to exist. And I am sure that is exactly how it would be read if it was hanging on the wall of the Tate Modern, the Saatchi or our very own BALTIC. In my dad’s flat in Percy Main or my studio however, one is able to appreciate the hilarious and downright odd power a frame can have over the value of an image.

– Rosie Stronach

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