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They say music is the silence between sounds. For me design is the void between masses.

Tension between the elements.  By Prof. Yair Sharav
Tension between the elements. By Prof. Yair Sharav

I was 14 years old when I first visited the Pompidou Centerin Paris. There was a huge white on white on white triptych painting. I was annoyed, really annoyed thinking 'does this artist think we are stupid' (I had not heard about curators then). I just could not get it. I remember my dad and I having a heated discussion about this, and how absurd I found the whole thing. It was emotional for me, it tested my definitions of what I had thought was art. But you know what - this led me to define art for myself. This mind bender has done it. From the birth of the impressionist art to video game animation design, human minds have been visually tested. We tend to take this for granted and have come to expect to be wowed every single time. So much so that I fear we suffer from visual pollution.

That is why I love voids, they allow unique elements to shine. Voids create visual tensions and upsets that surprise us when we don't expect it. They mute the visual noise.

They are the silence between the sounds.

This weekend I went to see The Cut-Outs exhibition by Henri Matisse. I heard so many snickered remarks by self proclaimed 'artistic' intelligent people ("oh my nephew can cut better than that" is one example).

I was again upset in a museum.

I have to admit, at first, I wasn't blown away by the exhibition. There were a million people milling around, it felt like people had their NYC 'to-do' list to fill, and after 30 years of going in and out of modern art exhibitions the novelty wears off. BUT like in a good yoga sun salutation, I paused, noticed and picked one thing to focus on. It was the voids between the cut-outs. I was suddenly blown away, the tension between lines and crocked pieces of paper seemed never ending, presenting so many new perspectives. Next time you look at your living room furniture and knick-knacks, try and see how much void you can put between them and if it changes your perspective.


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