Can You See if a Work of Modern Art Is Upside Down?

Is this how it should hang on the wall?

Modern art is often highly ambiguous and subjective, but not without limits. Every artist (at least that I’ve heard of) has an intended orientation of his or hers visual art – an upside and downside to every painting. This orientation suggests that there is an objective quality to the art as well, but does the audience agree?

Or like this?

According to a study from the University of Essex, people can recognize the proper orientation of modern art better than chance but far from perfectly. A part of this has to do with meaningful content that gives a hint of the right orientation – something looking a bit like a house or a face for instance. But the difference between these paintings and the completely abstract work was not huge.

Or this?

So what do you make of art that most people would hang upside down or 90 degrees off? Do they have bad taste or is it a failure on behalf of the artist? The example shown here is Kasimir Malevich’s Suprematism Composition, shown in it’s four possible orientations.

Or maybe like this?

For the record, I prefer one of these, but it’s not the one the artist intended. Then again, I’m not a very visual person.

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2 Responses to Can You See if a Work of Modern Art Is Upside Down?

  1. Which one did the artist prefer? I had one that felt right, too.

  2. Staffan says:

    Judging by the consensus on the art sites I’ve looked at it is the last version that is correct. But artfinder.com shows the third on its site. My personal favorite is the second, I like the balance of stability and movement in it.

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