Both Elegant and Kitschy

My favourite salt and pepper shaker set that transforms the surface it sits on from a hard surface to one that implies the surface’s permeability is this one:

sharks

It consists of just those two quite elegant and curvy triangular shapes–each on their own an interestingly abstract sculpture, perhaps.  But somehow, together, their representational intent becomes clear:  they are, in fact, shark’s fins, and thus imply the remainder of two sharks lurking just under the surface.

This pair has an economy rarely found in novelty salt and pepper shaker sets: it is a decidedly simple and understated evocation of the objects it represents.  What is surprisingly, therefore, is that there is still a novelty salt and pepper shaker set kind of vibe to it.  That vibe comes, I think, from the fact that the set is just a tiny bit of a witty joke, or maybe more accurately a puzzle.  You have to look at it for a while before you see what objects these apparently abstract shapes does quite literally represent.  There’s something cute about that–something very salt-and-peppery.  There’s the sense that the invisible sharks lurking beneath that surface might have luxurious eyelashes and lipstick around their mouths.  And yet, still, the aesthetically pleasing simplicity of the shapes remain.  So this, then, is a paradoxical set, somehow both elegant and kitschy.  Only in the weirder reaches of the salt and pepper shaker set miniverse could you find that particularly weird combination.

Published by pernodel

Children’s literature critic and author of books for children

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: