There is hardly any aspect of design that is so euphorically welcomed and vehemently rejected – at one and the same time – as ornament. And while ornament, as a purely decorative element, fulfills no consistent purpose, there are many ways – social, ritual, and commercial – in which it is indispensable. For example, rather than merely expressing a relationship between aesthetics and function, ornament has a narrative potential that can become a driver of design. And nowhere are these conflicting realities better demonstrated than in Vienna, the Ground Zero of the clash between nineteenth-century decoration, Jugendstil, and Modernism, the place in which – through the intermediary of psychoanalysis – the opulence of historically inspired ornament, its avant-garde counterparts, and the contrasting anti-ornamentation marked the transition to the 20th century. In Vienna, ornament is part of the urban bedrock!
The group exhibition ORNAMENT, which is curated by Liv Vaisberg, brings together contemporary works that investigate the role of ornament in design and as part of our daily life. By looking both backwards and forwards, the exhibition presents ornament as a means of sensual, critical, functional – and meaningful! – expression.
For the first edition of FOCUS, the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK secured the services of Liv Vaisberg, the well-known Rotterdam- and Brussels-based art and design expert, as guest curator. The scenography is the work of the young Vienna duo Easy-Center.
With objects by: Anna Resei (AT), Adèle Vivet (FR), Alma Bektas (BA), Atelier Duyi Han (CN), Bram Vanderbeke (RO), Christoph Wimmer-Ruelland (AT), HANAKAM & SCHULLER (DE/AT), Hi Kyung Eun (KR), Suzi Pain (DK),
J. & L. LOBMEYR mit Stefan Sagmeister (AT), Kurina Sohn (KR), Laurids Gallé (AT), Sho Ota (JP), Natalia Triantafylli (GR), Nawaaz Saldulker (ZA), Onka Allmayer-Beck (AT), Orson Oxo van Beek (BE), Pia Matthes (DE), Sophia Taillet (FR), Tadeas Podracky (CZ), Yoon Shun (KR)