My Very Own Personal Louvre
31 August 2019
My Very Own Personal Louvre, My Very Own Personal Gemäldegalerie and My Own Very Personal Vatican are a series of satirical pieces that play with the artificially imposed differences between ‘true’ art and ‘decorative’ art, i.e. design.

The notion ‘Art for Art’s sake’ declares that a ‘true’ work of art must have been created only for its own sake, embodying no perceivable function other than its own existence. By this definition a beautiful wallpaper or hand-stitched towel cannot be art because they have utilitarian value even if the creator did not actually intend for them to be used ­— they are instead pushed into the subjacent category of ‘craft’.

Art has aura, design does not. The series exaggerates this inconsistency; after all, a work of art can never be truly functionless — even a purely conceptual work of art has a purpose ­— to share an idea or make a statement, or even to earn the artist a hefty sum at the next auction.
My Very Own Personal Louvre is in some sense a “reverse Duchamp”. Duchamp took an object of design, a urinal, placed it into an art context, and labelled it art, thereby stating that anything can be art. The opposite has been done in this series. Works of art have been taken from their contexts and made functional in the most banal way possible, thereby stating that anything can be design, even art.
My Very Own
Personal Gemäldegalerie

My Very Own Personal Louvre satirises art in the age of digital reproduction.



Art has ‘Aura’, design does not.

During the process of ‘functionalising’ art an element was lost – aura. Walter Benjamin wrote that in an age in which multiple copies can be cheaply produced and easily disseminated, the magical ambience that an original work of art emits is no longer present in a reproduction.

John Berger further elaborated that the notion of ‘aura’ has been artificially cultivated by institutions when it became possible to mass-produce replicas at a low cost. After all, how else to convince an audience to pay an entrance fee to see the original Mona Lisa, when they can buy a print for the same price, or download the image in a higher resolution than what a naked eye can see, free of charge?
This collection of ‘functionalised’ artworks includes many priceless masterpieces – Vatican murals, Madonnas from Gemäldegalerie, paintings from Louvre – all of which can be downloaded, printed, customised to snugly fit into a single drawer. If we have reached a utopia in which a teen can afford to wear Louvre’s masterpieces on their backside, why do the works seem so hollow?