Renée Desmond is not religious, but has decorated the apartment with figures of Virgin Mary and pictures of Jesus – next to Hawaii figures and flamingos.
Someone responds and asks if I can not dare to say I’m Christian, says Renée Desmond and laughs.
A little bit of a christian picture hangs next to a big picture of a spell: A photograph of the French art photographers Pierre et Gilles. She found it in a magazine, enlarged it and acquired a thick gold frame from flea market. A little further on the same wall hangs pictures of the king himself (Elvis), Virgin Mary and a light-skinned gypsy girl painted by Charles Roka – a pictogram of iconic kitsch status. On the shelf over the couch in the living room hangs a landscape image purchased on eBay, which shines when you connect. In front of it: A dancing doll in big dress, some virgin Maria characters together with glass deer. It is a mixture of kitch and religion, more specifically Catholicism.
– There is something about the visual style of the Catholic that is strange mood-making and kitsch. But people who do not understand the ironic relationship with religion may misunderstand, Desmond believes.
The Kitsch concept should have arisen among art dealers in Munich, about cheap art and counterfeit works. Today, art-like objects with low artistic value, which are often mass-produced and play emotions, usually mean sentimental.
In addition to the painting of the gypsy girl, popular kitch motives have been crying children and old fishermen. Other kitsch stuff can include everything from Mickey Mouse phones and plastic mats to copies of the Eiffel Tower and natural-sized nipshounds.. Renée Desmond is pleased to have found her style, no need to look any further.
– Now I have enough things to create the atmosphere I want in my apartment, she sticks.
In the past, she went on a flea market every possible weekend, eaten eBay and used stores and came across treasures like: A pink flamingo in glass, a green-blue lamp that was originally a hair dryer, a mirror with gold frames and lampshades in fabric and boxes of roses.
She has also inherited a lot, like a big painting of a black-dressed woman, a green-screen table lamp, a pink flower-embroidered bedspread she uses as a cloth and a boyfriend: A small decorative plate with a picture of Jesus.
– Of all valuable and great things, it was the one I would rather have when Aunt Mary died, she says.
A small black and white picture shows the mother and the father of our anniversary. The father was Catholic, and a long chain with a Catholic cross hangs next to it.
– Reminds me of him, says Desmond.
These are the inherited things that matter most, the ones she brings with her from earlier.
– It gives a special value that it comes from yourself. It’s a matter of recreating childhood, the calm that was then. I think many people forget the importance of it.
The grandmother worked as a sailor. She owned a deck of naked ladies, whom Desmond was not allowed to touch as little. When she got it in adulthood, she copied the best cards and used as pictures, one of them hanging in the kitchen.
– The image creates a safe mood from childhood, even though it’s a nude lady, she says with a laugh.
The childhood’s Mickey and Donald figures in plastic glorify wonderfully on the small glass bowls, weird fine thermos and a Grepa stove that any retro home would dream of.
– It’s so nice, but it’s not possible to use the oven. So I have an apology when it’s going to be baked, Desmond jokes.
Create your own art
She and her daughter rent an apartment in the urban ecological district of Svartlamon in Trondheim, and nuances the image someone had to have of Black Llamas as dark artist apartments with batik curtains and incense.
– There is greater diversity than many think, she says.
Light yellow walls, white floors and smart solutions, such as the home-style writing desk and shelf system on the daughter’s approximately four-square-foot room, make the 55 square-foot apartment seem spacious and airy.
And then, the things she found: A worn unique cupboard that in its day room tools, where the turquoise shilling shells off, a little gray closet she found in the attic of her old apartment.
Despite the fact that most things in the apartment have been affordable or free, the pictures and the interior give the impression of some kind of exclusivity. And the mixture of inherited goods, flea, used and aerial and self-made solutions, creates a distinctive whole. As if Hawaiian characters in bastards, flamingos and plastic bottles shaped like virgin Maria, a stuffed blowfish in the kitchen and the reindeer dirt over the bed naturally belong together. Desmond is selective, but not snobbish on the paintings and the interior she has taken into the apartment.
– When you can not afford to buy proper art, you can make it yourself. Is it a nice picture, it can be hung on the wall, she thinks.
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