Early Roman Christian art was made during the 3rd century to preach selected Bible passages to those who couldn’t read. Enormous murals and stained glasses were put in churches portraying the life of Christ. The treachery of images, one of Magritte’s most famous works, wasn’t technically impressive, however the philosophical bases of this piece were what made it standout. It was a figurative representation of Ferdinand de Saussure’s ideological stance regarding symbols and their function as an allusive element. They’re a small portals that lets us access to a concept, have a mental image of what it is that this entity is representing, but it doesn’t give a full understanding of what it is. Renoir’s distinguished pointillism in all of his landscape portraits gave a sensation of how the painting was in fact moving, alive.
Why are we so attracted to art?
Symbolism, form exploration, how reality or fiction is portrayed, sociopolitical-historic relevance, techniques, color… These are small parts of the cohesive entity that is art. Indoubly, one of its most valued characteristics is authenticity.
When we stand before a piece we let our minds go, trying to figure out the strokes in it and whomever made them. Who is he/she? Imperfect, vulnerable, real? A connection is made with the artwork, its essence and see it as an extension of the author: know we know more about this person. Distinguishing what’s true or false. Comfortable with what is believed to be the painter’s intention, soaked in their truth we are left astonished by their brilliance. Whenever there’s a sense of falsehood or the slightest lack of honesty we rebuke the artist and their work. We want to live in luminescence, only compared to the ray of truthfulness.
Maybe that explains our absolute inclination for things or personalities that are distinguishable from miles away. Transparency is a mouthful of fresh air; helps us accept ourselves and makes us feel good in our wrinkled skin. These moments, objects, photographs, strokes on a canvas, we want them all protected for eternity; they’re a portal to what is real.
Is this the reason framing exists? Of course, it’s one of them. Moldings, glass displays and matt boards are all just extensions of an artpiece’s personality; a reflection of the author, a mirror for the artwork. These should not be protagonic but rather complimentary. A work’s wittiness is found in its authenticity adapted accordingly to a specific context and its utility. That’s what we’re all striving for, it is the reason why there’s handmade embroidery, different types of glass displays, cleaning products, an endless variety of tools made specifically to assure artistic integrity. A protection against the precarieties of the world.
The problem is when… When? Yes, the problem is when we don’t understand the context. There is who say that our obsession with authenticity comes from a clear neglection to the outside. This can be counterproductive. The wish to show a unique version, distinctive, may cloud our judgement regarding how these attitudes or belonging affect the space surrounding it. Being overzealous about a frivolous molding can affect the place where it shall be presented. It’s imperative to recognize the context and necessity of others. Space is made by those who conform it. An artwork plus its neighbors.
There needs to be an understanding of where our framed work will be hanged or how the moldings will add up; all of these will make framing much easier. May it be for functionality, esthetic consistency with the place where it’s gonna be exhibited or the artwork itself. Let’s remember how the best way to evolve is by letting go old customs. They are pillars to what and how things can be done, but not a definitive guideline. If we still framed the same way 100 years ago, would plexiglass boxes or acrylics mouldings like those of PRISMA even exist? The key is to assume form with benevolence and responsibility.