Wednesday, September 12, 2007
What do you call this?
Detail from "Death and Life", Gustav Klimt, 1911-15, oil on canvas.
Swatch from "Kaffe Fassett's Pattern Library", 2003.
Want another? How about Klimt's portrait of Adele Bloch-Baur, painted in 1907?
To the right, you can see a variation of Fassett's famous "Persian Poppies", plus patterns of squares similar to some of Fassett's more recent work.
Inspiration? Inevitable similarities produced when working with basic shapes? Copying? COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT?? (Actually, a big no on the last one. Klimt's work is old enough to be in public domain. Plus he was so fucked over by the Nazis, there's not much exploitation left to do by a few knitters.) I sincerely don't know. I do think some things are inevitable - if you play with circles, you'll eventually wind up with things like what Klimt produced. Ditto for playing with squares. Though I do find the first example of the crosses-in-squares rather obvious - even the colors are the same; I think Fassett did take that specific idea directly from that specific painting.
I'm still stuck back on the "Is it wrong?" question. The producers of many fine arts would sneer at the idea of being copied with knitting, and be either horrified or amused. But is it right, ever, to claim something was an original idea, when it wasn't? I know Fassett is usually generous about admitting where he got ideas - Islamic tiles, textiles from all over, and ceramics are favorites of his. So I don't mean to make this some kind of attack on his ethics. He's better than many others, who copy more directly and make not a peep about where they took the information from. And years ago, it was considered a compliment, among musical composers, to borrow each other's melodies and do your own version of them. Before the advent of copyright and the ability to profit from your own ideas, the concept of having to produce something original would have been considered very strange.
But I can't help but wonder... what do you call this?
at 12:47 PM