There are many, many reasons to love art collections. Their ability to add character to a space, their very nature facilitating individualism, and subsequently their ability to craft a more unique space. They are charming, eclectic, sophisticated and often timeless. However, unlike anything else, art collections have a unique ability to add narrative to a space.
What do we mean when we talk of narrative?
Defined by the art world, a narrative is present when a collection of pieces, be that sculpture or art, come together and, beyond just complementing one another, tell a story. Be that a story of mid-19th century Impressionist line work, how the view of the female form has evolved, or the use of negative space in contemporary public architecture - it is always a story. And, like chapters of a book, each piece in a collection exists to add another dimension to that narrative.
So why is it important?
It is easy to dismiss art collections as fanciful pursuits of art collectors or dealers, however the benefits of taking the time and thought to add a narrative into your home are near endless, alongside with the positive ripple effects it creates within the creative industry.
As previously stated, a narrative through art is simply a story, however it is a story that is written by you and performed in your home. Just as our homes act as canvases for our lives, walls act as canvases for our thoughts, ideas and opinions, and in choosing to display them, we elevate a simply beautiful home, into an interesting one.
The importance of what we choose to display in our homes, is best summarised in the words of French philosopher, Alain De Botton. In his book, ‘The Architecture of Happiness’, he dissects the intricate and almost intangible details of how everything we choose to surround ourselves with, affects us: “Just like an entire room, a single picture can assist us in recovering the lost significant parts of ourselves”.
He talks of how a vase of flowers may remind us to enjoy simpler things, how a particular cook book may inspire us to eat seasonally, or a Picasso print reminds us not to take life so seriously.
By choosing to display ourselves on our walls, we choose to reflect everything that’s important back to ourselves, in a world where it is sometimes easy to forget. Going beyond ourselves, when we choose to display more than merely beautiful things, but instead objects that tell stories and ideas, we enrich not only ourselves, but everyone we know.
Why should I buy into someone else’s narrative?
This is where collections emerge as the ultimate tool for narrative, for unlike singular pieces of art, the process of curating your own collection (and by this we mean choosing which pieces, how many, what sizes, and how you display them) transforms the artists ideas into your own. Unlike anything else, the malleable, versatile nature of a collection allows for individualism to shine, and a space to take on the touch of its owner.
The final dimension of a visual narrative is its ability to shape shift, its subjectivity. Depicted by an artist, a manifestation of a concept can look and convey something entirely different to a different audience. For example, where one person looking Johannes Vermeer's 'The Girl with a Pearl Earring’ may see a woman objectified, another sees a woman in control, both of which are accompanied by two very different dialogues. And it is this nature, the nature of art, that plays into building a dynamic, conversation inducing home.