The Matter of Ornament

In J. Brouwer A. Mulder (ed.), The Politics of the Impure. pp. 232-267 (2010)
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A shortened version of the second chapter of The Sympathy of Things as it was published in The Politics of the Impure (V2_NAI Publishers, 2010). It relates John Ruskin’s “Wall-Veil” to the better-known “Wall-Dress” (Gewand) of Gottfried Semper by understanding both as occurring at the intersection of matter and force. Matter tends to generate patterns in two ways, either downward or upward in dimensions. The first relates to tessellated ornament (cf. Owen Jones); the second to the ribboned ornamentation as we find it in Morris’s work.

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Lars Spuybroek
Georgia Institute of Technology


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