Contemporary Shapes: Diamond

Johannes Wohnseifer
Johannes Wohnseifer

Johannes Wohnseifer’s Diamond is painted with comic mysticism: its corporate logo a meditative fixation, accompanied by a haiku-like slogan. Humorously playing on spiritualism as a by-product of global enterprise, Wohnseifer’s Diamond places advertising as the new religious art, extolling the virtues of faceless powers.

© Mustikka
© Mustikka

Celebration, the series of large-scale sculptures and paintings by Jeff Koons, includes among others balloon dogs, Valentine hearts, Diamonds (in blue, red and green), and Easter eggs, and was conceived in 1994. Some of the pieces are still being fabricated. Each of the 20 different sculptures in the series comes in five differently colored “unique versions”, including the artist’s proof, all in high-chromium stainless steel with mirror finish surfaces.

© Jeff Koons
© Jeff Koons

Olafur Eliasson,  whose large-scale immersive environments, installations, sculptures, and photographs elegantly recreate the extremes of landscape and atmosphere in his native Iceland, at the same time as they foreground the sensory experience of the work itself, used the shape of diamond to create a corridor to access to the exhibition space in Take your time: Olafur Eliasson at MoMA and PS1.

© Olafur Eliasson
© Olafur Eliasson

Diamonds have remarkable optical characteristics and this is probably the reason why so many artists are still working on this shape. Combined with wide transparency, this results in the clear, colorless appearance of most natural diamonds. Small amounts of defects or impurities color diamond blue (boron), yellow (nitrogen), brown (lattice defects), green (radiation exposure), purple, pink, orange or red.

© Mustikka
© Mustikka

Diamonds also have relatively high optical dispersion (ability to disperse light of different colors), which results in its characteristic luster. Excellent optical and mechanical properties, combined with efficient marketing, especially by N. W. Ayer & Son, the advertising firm retained by De Beers that in the mid-20th century, succeeded in reviving the American diamond market, make diamond the most popular gemstone and iconography in general.

Ingrid Melano

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