To write of rugs and carpets is to interject oneself into an esoteric world replete with a cast(e) of characters far to numerous to enumerate herein and from my decidedly privileged Western experience it further seems as though each of those characters has at least one (1) opinion on any rug topic imaginable. Thus it is when choosing to discuss a particular topic or specific rug, one has to decide not only one’s own thoughts on the matter, but also the approach and tone of the article. Is the discussion serious or irreverent? Yes. Does it – as has on occasion been the prerogative of this author – examine carpets with an eye toward pure design; a faux reality of aestheticism in which meaning is lost in favour of the ephemeral and obsolete, planned or otherwise? Perhaps… .
Joseph Carini Carpets hosted the debut United States exhibition of ceramic works by Japanese artist Yuki Hayama from 9 September through 29 September 2016 at Mr. Carini’s eponymous TriBeCa carpet showroom. The showroom served not as mere gallery to the magnificently detailed work of Mr. Hayama, but rather as a veritable collaborative studio in which hard – in the form of ceramics – was juxtaposed against soft – in the form of the carpets Joseph Carini designed after being inspired by Mr. Hayama’s work. A visual delight where the contrast of two (2) disparate artistic endeavours begs the viewer to delve deeper into the notion of creativity, inspiration, and a true understanding of craft.
Ashtari Carpets is a rug and carpet retailer located in Antwerp, Belgium specializing in modern decorative carpets and select rare antique carpets. Their contemporary offerings hail from some of the best currently in the business including Wool and Silk, cc-tapis, and Edelgrund, all of whom produce world class carpets which Ashtari presents with a stylish if not also somewhat sexy sensibility. It’s this sensibility – which lies in direct contrast to the staid and antiquated ‘here’s a pile of rugs’ approach – that first caught our eye and, as a brief aside, it is one we hope will continue to evolve, becoming more pervasive as time progresses.
Upon first reading of ‘The Firesun Story’ as Dena Lawrence the Artist behind their creation calls it, one can be forgiven for jumping to ill formed conclusions regarding carpet making as some form of therapy. Foremost amongst them may be the notion of entitlement one must possess to think mental woes can be healed by having artwork reproduced by people whose own problems transcend an entire range of possibilities well beyond Western realities. That is of course the simpleminded logic of today’s everything is offensive society, whereas the real meaning is far deeper and far more meaningful, if one would simply bother to look.
Photorealistic designs in rug production is not a new concept, but it is one that is enjoying popularity mostly due to, in my opinion, advancements in technology and not great artistic or creative merit. An iconic photograph, of an iconic building, in an iconic city. That’s great. Let’s “design” a rug. I’ll just desaturate the image, drop it into the rug graphing software of your choosing, maybe pick the colours, but likely let the computer, and viola! I’m a designer. Now I’ve heard Mr. Irwin did not design this rug, but that is neither here nor there. He is passing this bunkum off as design and frankly it is not. Don’t believe me? That’s fine, I believe you to be wrong. That notwithstanding, it is a fantastic technical achievement in rug construction, but it might as well be a screenprinted design on a cotton chenille machine woven rug. It’s that stupid of a concept and it is insulting to think that people with real taste and style would appreciate, let along purchase such a rug. It’s pretending to be iconic by borrowing provenance and anything else it can from both its origins and the exceptional skill of those who wove it. It’s an affront to taste (good or bad) and we need not ever speak of this again, but of course we will, because on the other hand… .