A Design for Life 

(This was first published in Le News 13 November 2014)

Last week I spent a happy hour or so strolling around the Montreux Art Gallery, fantasising about what it would be like to a) have enough money to buy whatever I liked and b) have a big enough house to hang it all in.

On my second lap of the place, and a few complimentary drinks, my Champagne Goggles kicked in (like Beer Goggles, only classier) and I found myself strangely drawn to pieces that I’d rejected out of hand the first time around.

‘Well, hello there,’ I purred, sidling up to a sculpture made entirely of gummy bears. ‘Aren’t you a sweet little thing. Want to come home with me?’

Luckily, as it turned out, it was not an actual sculpture, but a real dish of real gummy bears on a refreshment table, so I was spared the horror of waking up the next morning and having to explain myself – and contemporary art – to my husband.

Anyway, my adventures in Montreux have strengthened my resolve to find some art to hang in the lounge. Ever since I cleared the ironing pile off the armchair, there’s been an empty spot against the far wall, just begging for something to fill it.

I know it’s not going to be easy, as there are a few key criteria that I have to bear in mind:

  • I won’t lie, price is a big consideration. I can fob the family off with pasta and cheese for a few weeks, but after that someone is going to start asking questions about grocery money.
  • The piece must be fully washable. Despite what she says, I don’t think the smaller child actually has learned her lesson, and another Exploding Glitter Glue incident is entirely likely. At the very least, I need something that I can run through the laminator and wipe clean with a dishcloth.
  • The art piece absolutely must be compatible with all the other important pieces that adorn our lounge walls. These include: a pencil drawing of Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus, taped to the TV cabinet; a handwritten letter begging for a pet hamster, stuck to the wall with chewing gum; a pink and blue Littlest Pet Shop house; several spots of glitter glue; and my husband’s latest thing – a video piece titled, ‘Nonstop American Football’. I thought this last was a temporary exhibit but it somehow seems to have become part of our permanent collection.
  • As to what it actually looks like … I don’t know. Engaging and pleasant to look at (or at least not so Baconesque that it terrifies the children). Ideally it would speak to us of our various interests, referencing sport, modern music and contemporary primary-school culture.
  • ‘You do realise that you’ve just described the television,’ my husband pointed out, smiling fondly at his Precious.

So it seems my plans for art acquisition have been shelved for now, in favour of rugby and Disney Junior. But it’s fine. I did not come home empty handed, from my foray into the world of culture. With my complimentary Champagne Goggles on, life is beautiful.

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