Finding Hidden Abstract Art in Carpet Samples

The Instagram account @carpet_sample features photos that look more like abstract artworks than close-up shots of carpets.

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Photographer Kasimir Pillé runs @carpet_sample, a surprisingly beautiful Instagram account that consists of close-up photographs of carpets. With everything from effusive florals, traditional Persian patterns, utilitarian greys and beiges, dirty geometric grids to extravagant high-pile shag, @carpet_sample has documented more types of carpet than you can imagine.

We found that scrolling through @carpet_sample’s feed, it was easy to draw comparisons to painters like Mark Rothko or Barnett Newman, who both used subtly nuanced blocks of color to create highly atmospheric works. Like the best abstract expressionist art, our favorite @carpet_sample photos convey mood, place, even history through slight changes of shadow and light.

Other carpet photos suggest parallels with even more artists, abstract and otherwise, from J. M. W. Turner to Yayoi Kusama. We paired up the Instagram snaps with the artworks they might be inspired by—the similarities are undeniable. Who knew the ratty crumb-filled carpet under your feet was inspired by art history?

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Left: Keith Haring, Untitled (1982). Right: “classsroom” carpet sample.

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Left: Detail of Robyn Denny, Baby is Three (1960). Right: “sporting goods” carpet sample.

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Left: Ellsworth Kelly, Light Reflection on Water (1951). Right: “theatre” carpet sample.

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Left: Detail of J. M. W. Turner, Rough Sea with Wreckage (1840-5). Right: “campsite” carpet sample.

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Left: Detail of Lee Ufan, Untitled (1979). Right: “mens shoes” carpet sample.

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Left: Detail of Lee Krasner, Noon (1947). Right: “exhibition room” carpet sample.

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Left: Detail of Cy Twombly, Arcadia (1958). Right: “artists studio” carpet sample.

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Left: Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Nets (2005). Right: “video games” carpet sample.

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Left: Detail of Ilya Bolotwsky, Geometric Abstract Serigraph. Right: “museum of contemporary art” carpet sample.

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Left: Detail of Gene Davis, Black Panther (1970). Right: “souvenirs” carpet sample.

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