A professional art portfolio where the portfolio is more than just a vessel, or is it?
Creativity is a fickle thing. Sometimes the act of making is irresistible- even fun. Often though, the creative process is frustrating and the cause of many an artist to exercise a little procrastination. For artist John Armleder, a missed deadline lead to the inspiration for a irony drenched professional fine art portfolio that is a work of art in and of itself.
Over lunch in New York, World House Gallery owner Donald Taglialatella asked John Armleder if he would compose some water colors for him. Taglialatella even supplied Armleder with paper to work with. Armleder agreed, but only “if the spirit moved him.” A few weeks later, the two met again. Armleder returned the paper, still blank, and the project unfinished.
That’s where the story of such doomed projects usually ends. But inspiration wasn’t absent, just late. Some time later, Armleder emailed Taglialatella with a novel idea. His lack of art was, in fact, art. Armleder conceived a vision for a presentation folio for World House Editions that was “unsigned, unnumbered, undated, untitled”- a vessel devoid of any contents. A sort of commentary on printed works, this was to be a professional fine art portfolio that contained no actual art. And would be advertised as such.
The lipped clamshell design was wrapped in black Brillianta and accented with silver foil stamping. By all appearances, this is a quality professional art portfolio like any other. The title of the project, “(really) NOTHING”, along with the name of the artist and the publisher are the only visible decorations on the exterior of the box. One would expect the minimal exterior to conceal a rich, perhaps even boisterous collection of content within. No one would actually release a fine art portfolio with nothing inside.
There is absolutely nothing within this portfoliobox. It is a black, vacuous space of utter emptiness. This a superlative piece not because of the works within, but the lack thereof. Save for one detail. On the interior of the front panel, justification note in sheer white. And to further the motif of nothingness, the copy is inkless, giving the appearance of a totally blank sheet of paper at first glance.
The white on white effect of this note embodies the nothingness that defines this project. The intent is visible, but only barely. If you don’t look closely and think, you might miss the point entirely. That effect, however, is the genius of this concept.
This project puts the emphasis solely on the professional art portfolio, not the contents. Although this is, of course, John Armleder’s work all the same, it does give Portfoliobox an opportunity to contribute to high art by virtue of our product alone. One can imagine the experience of opening this lipped clamshell and recognizing the irony of absent work. But this project isn’t nothing. Not really. The gag only works because the portfoliobox is in keeping with the quality of a professional art portfolio used by many renowned artists of the highest caliber.
Portfoliobox was honored to participate in the creation of this original work.
If you have a unique project requiring a fine art touch, contact us today and speak with Stuart about how Portfoliobox can help you.