Is the Decorative Art Ending?

When human being started for the first time to build what he needed to live, nobody knew that this was the first step in the development of a kind of art which accompanies people in their product for years. And now it has become important to be known as an independent art (not considering the number of its opponents and advocates) and in this way, the decorative arts were created. An art which joined human's life and you could feel it in the nearest space with people's life in order to associate with it and experience a hollow and prosaic life without it. The ornament was the first step to attain decorative arts , which not only did not separate itself from the people but opened its way to the houses of worship and holy places, in the way that ornament became an inspirited part of production in human's life. As evidence you can find museums full of objects defined as decorative artworks today, the oldness of these ornamental objects can be traced back to the early days of life on earth, from the far west to far east these ornamental objects have a part in these treasures, from Maya to Celt and Persian, Indian, Chinese and Japanese art, as you can find it in the explanations. There is a direct relation between ornament and decorative art, in other words ornament is the source, mother and generator of decorative arts, which was attractive for people from the very beginning. We can mention the ornament, which were used in glasses, potteries and even hunting bows and bayonets as examples. Some people believe that decorative arts belonged to women and they decorated objects while making them but human has always drawn his favorite drawings on things for the sake of their beauty; this procedure has continued and has received some changes in each period, in this way we can separate different generations and guess the age of traditional works and buried treasures with little error (in the 19th century many opponents called ornamental applied artworks decorative artworks to ridicule them). In a way, they believed that decorating objects is a useless work and so there was no point in doing so; as a result they fought with it. On other hand, the advocates criticized the industrialization caused by decorative art. In this disorganization, decorative art rose with determined justifications and made an identity for itself.
Everyone knows that Modern architecture is undecorated. At least that is how Reyner Banham put it in his 1957 AR essay 'Ornament and Crime: the decisive contribution of Adolf Loos'. 'This concept', he wrote, 'is the layman's recognition check: flat roof, big windows, no decoration.' It was also one of the great seminal half-truths that has become an established rule of design morality. Across all disciplines, Modernity prevailed. Ornament had to go, and among its many detractors, none was as outspoken as Adolf Loos. So strong was the sentiment, few have escaped the brainwash, and a century on many remains paralysed by Modernism's strict design ethic. Colin Stan field Smith, hardly the most heroic Modernist, spoke publicly about the guilt felt when designing his first pitched roof, and for architects that studying in the early '90s, the ghost of Modernism-past meant that decoration and ornament were conspicuously absent from architecture's lexicon. ΓΌ British High-Tech was the standard text, and today a diluted form remains the dominant force in Britain. With structural expression and truth to materials as core values, only when High-Tech was at its best did recent British architecture get close to a meaningful return to ornament. At its worst it remains bland, predictable and arid.
This procedure has been investigated in other kind of Arts, as well. In fact, we can also perceive that during these years modernist movement has not been inclined to architecture, but we can also observe slowly the existence and growth of this belief in other arts such as handicrafts. The artists and craftsmen who have found tendency to this belief and the schools which were made for them to train their pure talents, all send a word of creeping coup d'etot against the ornaments and decorative arts. In this regard we can refer to the Bauhaus school which has been founded in 1919, and had the look and tendency touched by the modernist movement. In this art and crafts school the a large number of outstanding artists of their time were lecturers at Bauhaus such as Naomi Gabo, Paul Klee, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Piet Mondrian, Wassily Kandinsky, etc, soldiers for modernism movement in reality. It can be said that with this movement, the constituent of modernism movement has taken a big step to found their thoughts and aims, which was the leaking of modernism in handicrafts. The important point was the mode works of this collection. Gradually we observe the works without a piece of ornomants. During these years, works such as tables, chairs, pottery vase, etc, which this received the attention of hyesrst in markets by return. This was a confirmation for success of this movement.

Modern crime and the death of ornament

While Modernism was new, the death of ornament was not. As far back as the third century, the shift from Classicism to Byzantine primitivism demonstrated how cultures adopt simpler modes of expression without necessarily taking culturally regressive steps. Loos saw the death of ornament as cultural advance, and in his 1943 essay, Ornament in Modern Architecture, Kenneth Clark explained why architects in his generation abdicated their traditional position.
No one with any grasp of history, he says, could argue that ornament was not essential to architecture. So why had architects chosen to impoverish themselves? The reason related to the spirit of the post-industrial era in which it was virtually impossible to ascertain what the function of ornament should be. To satisfy the functionalists, Clark identified two functions of ornament, suggesting that ornament can be emblematic, or decorative, or both, with emblematic ornament serving an allegoric function, with stories or fables set in stone, and decorative responding to the fact the human eye requires points of concentration, 'where it can dwell for a moment with a different tempo and a different focus'. Perhaps Clark overlooked a third: that ornament can also serve a tectonic function, expressing the process and necessity of construction?
That the modern architect had rejected these modes of ornament was, he argued, not simply reactionary (as, for example, Classicism was a reaction against the Baroque). Rather it was due to the prevailing belief that ornament was utter meaninglessness, due to the crimes of the Victorians that had reduced ornament to an ingredient in sham facadism. Those public buildings should adopt certain styles produced wasteful and crudely sculpted work and to those with modern minds ornament could only be seen as conspicuous waste.
Necessity and Modernism's measuring mind
The 'measuring mind' was Clark's expression for the modern thinker who prioritized necessity over desire. This state of mind contributed more to the death of ornament than the emergence of the machine itself, and while it was undeniable that the advance of mechanization had reduced the need to train craftsmen in anything like the numbers previously required, it was equally undeniable that level of design and invention in nineteenth-century ornament was, as Clark put it, 'feeble'. Architects and designers failed to create their own language and while there were exceptions, such as William Morris and later Louis Sullivan, the measuring mind had eclipsed the figurative mind, and in all areassuch as abstractionanalysis and reduction were modes of measurement that influenced change. After the First World War, people were no longer willing to oscillate between the truths of Classical or Gothic expression, and having become increasingly agnostic, when architects began to say, 'Is my cornice really necessary?' it inevitably ceased to be so.
The problem was, of course, that cornices often were totally necessary, and while the aridity of the International Style failed to engage its audience, it also failed on a practical level: the omission of ornament took with it essential elements of constructional detail. Strange then, through the pursuit of necessity, the Modern mind had thrown the baby (cornice) out with the bath water, as architects such as Neutra seemed happy to engage in their own version of sham fakery, by smearing aluminum paint over timber and render, in a thinly applied and insubstantial attempt to create pure form. With the exception of a few true masters, most Modernists produced buildings that simply shed ornament as if it were a dead skin. Through this an entire generation, and many generations since, overlooked one of Pugin's 'great rules of design'; an enduring rule that in fact would have supported their righteous pursuit of necessity, namely that 'All ornament should consist of enrichment of the essential construction of the building' (1859).
In the beginning of the 20th century, with the powerful presence of the modernists in the field of art and architecture, decorative art was strongly speeded and went to the sill of decline and annihilation. In a very strong manner, modernists proceeded in this matter in opposition and denied any ornamentation strongly and with cruelty. Gothic, Baroque and Rococo styles have left peerless and undeniable works behind them but in this period everyone looked at them with ridicule. The modernists abandoned any kind of ornament very quickly, and began to build things and metal constructions without hiding the connections, they just considered the usage of the products and works and moved toward to simplification; this carelessness comes to the point when Adolf Loos compares and equates ornamentation with crime, and believes that: "ornament means wasted labor and therefore wasted health."
Magnificent, dignified, disgusting and ridiculous were the titles given to sumptuous architecture of the old centuries. This procedure continues but parallel, the people absorb a movement in Europe and America known as Arts and Crafts Movement . The Arts and Crafts Movement began primarily as a search for authentic and meaningful styles for the 19th century and as a reaction to the eclectic revival of historic style of the Victorian era and to "soulless" machine-made production aided by the Industrial Revolution. Considering the machine to be the root cause of all repetitive and mundane evils, some of the protagonists of this movement turned entirely away from the use of machines and towards handcraft, which tended to concentrate their productions in the hands of sensitive but well-heeled patrons. And we observe Pattern and Decoration movement too. Both of them influence the survival of the decorative arts and ornaments.
Decorative arts will not disappear.
Many years has past from this conflict and as expected, all these tacts have became quiet in the cradle of this kind mother(the earth), the magnificence of Notre-dame in the shadow of metal phantom of Paris (Eiffel ) will never be hided. You can see lots of these peaceful coexistences in Europe, which is one of the sources of decorative arts. The modern phantoms are the sumptuous, magnificence and dignity contracts of decorative arts. In the contemporary age we see the existence of young and new arts such as graphic design, but we can see the effect of ornamentation in it as well (some of graphic designers use ancient pattern and ornament in their works). In other words, if ornament was buried in the depths of narrow and dark vestibules of history and no name remained of it, decorative arts never terminated, because the human is restless and unstable for ornament, and this thirst for ornamentation is somehow his heritage of cave-dweller ancestors.
Ornament will not end.
Even a new fangled art such as graphic design is not inseparable from this eternal magic of history never coming to an end. It traverses the complicated way of history like a magic bid. Art is flowing in our existence from moral beauty to external beauty; ornament will not end; it just changes from one shape to another. In this period of time, the contemporary architectures also distances itself slowly from the modern principles and elements, in the way that we could seldom observe pure applied architecture. Then after slowly beauty became important once again, and there were some attempts in this regard, some modern architect achieve beautiful and shapely combinations by playing with the simple forms and the mere simplicity is not ruling but this is the ornament which has changed the shape according to the soul of the work. Ornament is staying, and inside the buildings had no relation with the motto of modernism movement any more, and application and ornament were considered together. In some cases, we can also observe the traces of Neolithic ornament in the architecture of this period, and even in other crafts. For example you can find lots of samples in some crafts such as ceramic in which you can see interesting and of course new ornaments such as the plate with the map was drawn on them.
Whenever we enter a museum we cannot hide our amazement and consternation arising from the accuracy and elegance of the work times. Morality is blotching and is as eternal as history and will exist as long as it exists. There is no doubt that our children will surely find a way to decorate their works, no doubt this is that magic ornament.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License