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Manchester University Press

Surface Tensions: Surface, Finish and the Meaning of Objects

Surface Tensions: Surface, Finish and the Meaning of Objects

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Surfaces are often held to be of lesser consequence than 'deeper' or more 'substantive' aspects of artworks and objects. Yet it is also possible to conceive of the surface in more positive terms: as a site where complex forces meet. Surfaces can be theorized as membranes, protective shells, sensitive skins, even thicknesses in their own right. The surface is not so much a barrier to content as an opportunity for encounter: in new objects, the surface is the site of qualities of finish, texture, the site of tactile interaction, the last point of contact between object and maker, and the first point of contact between object and user.

Surface tensions includes sixteen essays that explore this theoretically uncharted terrain. The subjects range widely: domestic maintenance; avant-garde fashion; the faking of antiques; postmodern architecture and design; contemporary film costume. Of particular emphasis within the volume are textiles, which are among the most complex and culturally rich materialisations of surface. As a whole, the book provides insights into the whole lifecycle of objects, not just their condition when new.

Author: Christopher Breward
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Published: 11/30/2013
Pages: 232
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 1.40lbs
Size: 9.50h x 6.70w x 0.80d
ISBN: 9780719087516

About the Author
Glenn Adamson is Head of Research at the Victoria and Albert Museum Victoria Kelley is Reader in Design and Material Culture History at University for the Creative Arts, and teaches in the School of Fashion and Textile Design, Central Saint Saint Martins College of Art and Design

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