THE TEAR SHEET
Simulation is the sincerest form of reality
You can’t help but marvel at the work Chris Gilmour puts into his cardboard replicas. Each piece is done to full scale, and the attention to detail is incredible. These life-size sculptures so resemble the items they were modeled after (save for the fact that they’re made entirely out of corrugated cardboard and glue) that onlookers have been known to test the pieces to see if they actually functioned. Some viewers have even thought they were just real items covered in cardboard. But easy as it is to say that he is completely skilled at crafting “models,” Gilmour isn’t out just to make cardboard simulacrums.
Gilmour states on his site that he chooses to depict familiar items with a narrative because of the “short-circuit” people have in relation to these things – they approach these forms expecting them to function because they’re such everyday things whose use can dictate what they are in people’s minds. But I see his work more as an emphasis of their forms, which people perhaps fail to notice because they’re used so much everyday.
It’s a variation of the old adage, “You don’t realize what you have until it’s gone.” In this case, while a car or bicycle may be ubiquitous in your backyard, in an exhibit, it’s both there and not there (well, okay, maybe the typewriters are completely gone from most homes, but never mind about that). Gilmour makes us reconsider mundane things by meticulously reproducing their forms, and only their forms, albeit in intense detail. In corrugated cardboard, normal functions and associations are stripped away, and you’re left with the details of how something looks, and as such you can observe them more. As an illustrator, I examine a subject more when I have to draw it, and I often notice details I never did before. As I reproduce them I might become interested in how those details help something look or function. If we don’t look at something directly but in a cardboard reflection, we might ironically notice them more.
For more of Chris Gilmour’s work, you can visit his website at chrisgilmour.com.
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George G., Creative Director At Large, is a New York-based art director whose work spans everything from store display to interactive media. Also an accomplished artist, his illustrations have been published and exhibited in various galleries in New York. Being a self-professed design junkie, he is constantly on the lookout for what’s new and fresh in the worlds of art and design.
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