Christian Long

Ursus Wehrli: Tidies Up Art

In TED Talks on May 10, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Reflection by CONNOR S.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Ursus Wehrli:  Tidies Up Art

At the beginning of this TED Talk, I was a bit skeptical of exactly what this video was over. Wehrli simply rearranged parts of famous works. A bit further in, I began to see the comedic genius of Wehrli and his parodies of art. Wehrli mixes order with chaotic and disorganized pieces of art to create something completely new, and his method of displaying his new art will easily put a smile on a person’s face.

Wehrli jokingly mocks ‘messy’ art that lacks organization, and will take pieces of works and reorganize similar shapes and colors into groups in a manner similar to a bar graph. It’s easier to show in a picture rather than in words, though, so here is an example:

One can say that both the original work and the aftermath are art. Wehrli’s spin on art is quite refreshing; by rearranging the works of other artists, he is able to create a more controlled work which can still be considered art. Wehrli’s art challenges conformity with the new era of modern art, which many people consider chaotic and not art at all. Wehrli’s art reaches back to a more traditional, organized time of art.

But the true art in Wehrli’s TEDTalk is his method of presentation, not the art itself.

Wehrli is more of a comedian than an artist. He captivates the audience with his first challenge to traditional TED presentations, with his own spin on the slides that most speakers use. With each prop Wehrli brings onto stage, he begins to build momentum and makes the viewer begin to guess and wonder what his next ‘tidying’ of art will be. A little ways into the talk, you begin to think you will be able to predict Wehrli’s next piece of art easily, but Wehrli switches his ‘tidying’ style when it is least expected. The viewers’ minds race to figure out Wehrli’s next piece, and are caught off guard when pointillism find itself off canvas, in a ziploc bag containing a large amount of specks of paint, as well as when he pulls a key portion of art right off of the canvas itself.

Wehrli’s TED Talk is highly entertaining, as Wehrli’s quirky skit and method of organization are refreshing breaks to the conformity of art and TED Talks as a whole.


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