Thursday, February 3, 2011

Secessionist & Adolf Loos's Ornament in Crime : which side are you really?

Its been a while for me scratching my head to analyze which movement i am...i mean in design movement such as Art Nuevo, secessionist, or Loos fan. Even previously i had study many movement in my degree and i’m pretty sure there a lot to come after this. Yeah, study design/art history helps me to understand what, how, when, why and who on all things had done.

Alrite, lets see what’s Secessionist movement and Adolf Loo’s ornament.

I start with Secessionist movement, from my understanding Secessionist Movement start to make an expansion in Vienna, Italy at 1897 and was founded by  a group of Austrian artists who had resigned from the Association of Austrian Artists. This group of movement are standing from a painters, sculptors, and architects. The first president of the Secession was Gustav Klimt, and Rudolf von Alt was made honorary president.

They start to sit together at bar ‘Moulin Rouge’ and discussing on issues, which related to the current movement. Therefore, their discussion grew a fruits and they come out with various of ideas which afterwards they keep their engine started. They tried to make all the things they talk to become true. This group later on create their own philosophy in order to make some adjustment. Modern materials, modern construction methods, modern times for the sake of the past, present and future is a big topic they tried to bring it on.

In a simple picture, this movement tried to not depends on historical sense or any other previous movement. It’s mean that they are trying to make something totally out of the previous ways and prhylosophy. Secession artists were concerned with exploring the possibilities of art outside the confines of academic tradition. They hoped to create a new style that owed nothing to historical influence.

At the beginning, their work tried to emphasize the sense of future and luxury. Therefore, they come with an idea of “to every age its art and to art its freedom”. They think that art should be viewed as a whole and art is not confined to one section only.

As for Gustav Klimt, an Austrian symbolize painter majoring in painting, murals and any other art object, has choose the female body as a primary subject in his work. His work distinguished by the elegant gold or coloured decoration. Sounds luxuries rite? His mature work then are characterized by a rejection of earlier naturalistic, make use of symbols to convey psychological ideas and emphasize the freedom of an art traditional culture.
Gustav Klimt

Adele Bloch-Bauer I, which sold for a record $135 million in 2006. Neue Galerie, New York. Luxury and someideation on future sense in imagination
Gustav Klimt painting, somehow it become to much and wasted?

However, Adolf Loos stands up and rejecting all the  Secessionist movement ideas and understanding. How he express his argument? writing up an essay titled Ornament & Crime which is in the German title Ornament und Verbrechen. The essay repudiated the florid style of the Secessionist.

Adolf Loos
In the essay, Loos's "passion for smooth and precious surfaces" informs his expressed philosophy that ornamentation can have the effect of causing objects to go out of style and thus become obsolete. It struck him that it was a crime to waste the effort needed to add ornamentation, when the ornamentation would cause the object to soon go out of style. Loos introduced a sense of the "immorality" of ornament, describing it as "degenerate", ts suppression as necessary for regulating modern society. For him, "design must come with function".

The essay was written when Art Nouveau, which Loos had excoriated even at its height in 1900, was about to show a new way of modern art. The essay is important in articulating some moralizing views, inherited from the Arts and Crafts movement, which would be fundamental to the Bauhaus design studio and would help define the ideology of Modernism in architecture.

As for me, the study on Adolf Loos give me some sort of basic knowledge on my previous understanding – Bauhaus Movement. Yeah some new punk like me sometimes tried to master others philosophy and i admit that i had some Art Nouveau understanding in my early work on graphic. Ala..u know the flower2 one the krawang2 one...yeah previously in early 2005 it become famous for young designer. Well i didn’t core in graphic but somehow i believe i’m just open my limits.

However, as an industrial designer , i myself is an industrial designer sometimes its hard to identify which side you art in understanding the philosophy. Its pretty hard at the first time, however  i’ve learnt that i’m sort to much on Bauhaus Movement when i analyze my previous design work. Since, we know that Adolf Loos give me some sort of basic knowledge on my previous understanding – Bauhaus Movement. Therefore i can identified myself that i’m on Loos’s side.

Previously, i always state in my mind that my design should follow the function and even i tried to make something sleek and simple.I might be wrong but thats what i figured from my way of work and design process. People could view my personal work (previously)  and see the simplicity is always my rules in doing a design work without countless on aesthetic manners and other thing.

My previous design : simple and 'lightweight' : the bauhaus phylosophy

The Joy of Work :the beginning of arts and craft movement

In 1870s, the hopefulness began to evaporate in England. There are many critical issues appeared on that time such as the emergence of Germany and United States a political and economical rivals, Boer Wars, arguing on stronger imperial policy and many else.

The industrial activities are running brutally. Children become part of the organization, the city become a bit tension, enhance of the capitalism and many more. Therefore, the situation which is ‘bit tension’ driving the end products of industrialism. For an example, there are textile, furniture and products brutally produced by the factory. However, the output are defined as a ’soulless’. There are nothing to enjoy on your blouse at that time, your chair is just a medium for you to sit, your house is just a place for you to sleep. Simply and direct talking, there is nothing for you to enjoy detail on that time. Cheap one lah.

John Ruskin
So, people tried to make something that could differentiate them. As for this case, there need something to define their status. Therefore, arts and craft become their passionate coz yeah who dare to pay craftsmen?..of course the wealthy one rite?...So we could said that art and craftsmen are resistant to making connections to industry as they were frustrated by what they perceived as the drift toward mechanization.

Arts and Crafts idea was intrigued by the anti-machine guilds. It is expressed by John Ruskin (1819-1900),

“It is not, truly speaking, the labour that is divided; but the men: divided into mere segments of men-broken into small fragments and crumbs of life; so that all the little piece of intelligence that is left in a man is not enough to make a pin, or a nail, but exhausts itself in making the point of a pin or the head of a nail.” 

He also add, “We are always in these days endeavouring to separate the two; we want one man to be always thinking, and another to be always working , as we call one a gentleman and the other an operative ; whereas the workman ought often to be thinking, and thinker often to be working, and both should be gentlemen in the best sense”

William Morris (right) with artist Edward Burne-Jones, 1890.
Ruskin believed that the industrialization has fractionated the society to classes and he was frustrated by the system, as the thinker was not the maker at the same time. The situation become the turning point for Britain, as next Ruskin met with Morris, a real craftsman who possess the same thinking as his. Then, they've become arts and crafts guild that advocate the idea of arts and crafts. Imperfection that made the art becomes explicit. Morris, who design and produce his own works was the man of the time. He believes that art does not compromise with commercialism which has made his works can only be afford by the rich class.

Design for "Tulip and Willow" indigo-discharge wood-block printed fabric, 1873

Therefore I do believe the "Joy of Work" expression suits the art and craftsmen thinking. When there was a thinker and maker is a same person on the same time, the product produce could be awesome. Then it’ll clearly define the joy of it...the joy of work.