The sum of the whole is greater than its parts

The sum of the whole is greater than its parts is the definition of gestalt as we in the design industry understand it.

When I saw this image of a VW Beetle in an exploded view I was struck by how well the image illustrates that definition. Here we see all the parts of the VW Beetle, but it’s not a working car. We can fairly easily recognize that it is a VW Beetle … but is it?

The artwork illustrates an article in Harvard Business Review about reinventing your business.

The article discusses how businesses, no matter their success, eventually run out of room to grow and are forced to reinvent themselves: To jump from the maturity stage of one business to the growth stage of another.

I’m not at all sure how the image is meant to reinforce those ideas, but the magazine has an explanation for the choice of this particular image:

Each month we illustrate our Spotlight package with a series of works from an accomplished artist. We hope that the lively and cerebral creations of these  photographers, painters and installation artists will infuse the pages with additional energy and intelligence to amplify what are often complex and abstract concepts.

[ Harvard Business Review January 2011 ]

[ The artwork is by Damián Ortega. An installation entitled Cosmic Thing, 2002. The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles ]

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