Joyful repair

By Ingrid Fetell Lee

Matt sent me these whimsical images of public structures “fixed” with legos. The pieces are done by artist Jan Vormann, in an attempt to “support Mayor Bloomberg in his everyday-struggle to make this city even more amazing!”

Between these and the precious potholes I featured a couple of weeks ago, I’m starting to see a theme around the idea of “joyful repair.” Add to these some of the initiatives at Droog’s takeover of Governor’s island last fall, such as Heleen Klopper’s Woolfiller, and there really seems to be a pattern. I see this as an emerging desire to salvage damaged things, to fill in gaps and holes with something beautiful, whimsical, and colorful. Of course, these are not serious attempts at repair (Woolfiller excepted), but they get us to pay more attention to our environment, and the condition of the world around us, in a joyful way. There’s something compelling about the motivation behind the work — the need to make something whole, and not just whole, but somehow better and brighter than it was. These pieces suggest that a repaired thing can be not just as good as, but better than a new thing, and for me, this is what makes these provocations go beyond humor and novelty to be truly, deeply joyful.

March 16th, 2010

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