Horror Vacui

Horror Vacui

In visual art, ‘Horror Vacui’ refers to filling an entire space with detail. It also means ‘fear of empty space’.

The Italian critic Mario Praz used this term to describe the cluttered interior design of the Victoria age. As such, horror vacui has come to be associated with a value perception connected to the emptiness of space, particularly in regard to commercial layout and design. The more filled an area of space is, the lower it’s perceived value. While the opposite is true for areas with less content.

The value connection of horror vacui is surprising, considering lavish design is also associated with affluence. So I wonder if this is a signal pointing to a change in trend towards minimal design.

The other thing that stands out, is that a ‘fullness of space’ in regard to art feels derogatory. The language suggests a trend that is ending. I offer a better term in response. Impletuer Vacui or ‘filled void‘.

Notwithstanding terminology, there is something that begs a deeper dive into the idea of ‘fear of emptiness,’ especially how it applies to daily life.

How often do you pick up the phone when there is a pause in a conversation? What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning? Can you sit with loneliness? Can you sit with silence?

Those, I believe, are the essential questions that Horror Vacui presents us with when it comes to the Art of Life.

Note: Harry Segil is a contemporary artist who is brilliant at Horror Vacui.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Lydia

    I love the name, of that design composition. Reminds me of the song “everything now” By Arcade Fire.

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