May 15, 2020

Art Is What You Leave Out

A wise friend sent me a piece of reading this week and it was a list of little advice snippets, one of which said this:


Art is what you leave out.


And like all good art, it confronted what is comfortable in me. In the western hemisphere, we are largely driven by the concept of more. Excess being symptomatic of success has driven us into a strange state of dissatisfaction and longing; despite having more material wealth than most people on earth, and significantly more than the generations before us. 


And yet, the new age movement of minimalism and the wide adoption of eastern principles of spirituality show that instead of longing for ‘more’ – perhaps we are seeking less. 


Everywhere I look, the principle of restraint is taking centre stage in term of design and experience. To sum it up visually, this…

Has been replaced, (happily,) with this…

Covid-19 has been a singular opportunity for us to audit what we can leave out. There is a lot of conditioning though, that goes into simplification and de-hurrying, especially when so much of it has crept in unnoticed. 


When we are offering people advice on presenting their homes for sale – the conversation around decluttering comes up, almost without fail. What amazed me when I first began working in real estate is that most people believe they have de-cluttered prior to our bringing it up. 


Our accumulation and our ‘stuff’ surrounds us in homes as an artefact of all that is complex and busy. To peel that back and open a space up to invite the imagination of potential buyers is what we seek to achieve with de-cluttering and it is exactly what this process achieves.


But what if we decluttered for ourselves. What imagination and ambition could we fill up our space with if we weren’t tied to the things we had put in the space – that clutter. Interestingly, clutter come from an old English word ‘clotter’ which means to thicken and coagulate. It represents stuck energy – you can’t get more stuck than a clot.


If we can release that, to edit our environment and leave out the noise – well then we make room for art.

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