Analysis out of the box

Semiotics of a vest and its neon yellow color

Analysis out of the boxContemporary Art | Let’s recall the ready-made rectified vest with printed buttons that Marcel Duchamp offered his wife Teeny in 1957, at the occasion of their third wedding anniversary. He then gave a second vest to Sally, Teeny’s daughter-in-law, in 1958 as a gift when she married Paul Matisse, and finally offered a third one to Benjamin Péret in 1958.
Has the vest turned into a ready-made? Two elements : the garment and its color (with the values, tensions and associations they carry) are almost enough to explain the expression “gilet jaune” (yellow vest). Then we add the general context, the crisis of the notion of progress, a space for expression (the roundabout) and a detonator. Each person can then interpret the phenomenon according to his or her own considerations, going from incomprehension to supporting the movement. According to Marcel Duchamp, since the spectator’s gaze makes the artwork, the collective interpretation of it constitutes an event.

Gilet jaune © DR
Gilet jaune
© DR

The garment and its color

In the spectrum of expressions including the word yellow, we now add “gilets jaunes” (yellow vests), referring to the clothing item that motorists muy have with them in order to avoid accidents on the road. The yellow vest isn’t made from wool, it doesn’t possess the thickness of a bourgeois garment or the aristocratic comfort of the vests that appeared in the 17th century, with buttons on the front. It is a fluorescent item that reflects the lights of other motorists at night and is noticeable in the daylight. Although it can protect you from the rain and the wind in case of inclement weather, the yellow vest is more of an utensil than a clothing item, more of a tool than an object of comfort. It is […]

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Gilet jaune © DR

Gilet jaune
© DR

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