Ornament and Crime (2022)

Ornament and Crime is a curatorial flashback to the troubling legacy of Austrian architect Adolf Loos, who in his canonical text of the same name, attempted to move modernist aesthetics out of the dump and despair of the anachronistic ornament. He wrote, “Modern ornament has no parents and no progeny, no past and no future.”

Through our collective orientation to loss, we return to ornament as a site of agency and pleasure, which has the potential to be reinstated within our contemporary visual cultures. Ornament and Crime locates itself in the use and abuse of the ornament to challenge past, present, and future mistranslations of the ornament and collectively participate in historical recuperation.

This group exhibition speaks back to the ghostly Loosian archive, through which minimalism and cultural evolution worked together to erase the aesthetic labours of the ornament and the ornamented peoples of Asia, Africa, and its vast diasporas. Exhibiting artists include Raneece Buddan, Riaz Mehmood, Harvey Nichol, Ayesha Singh, and Alize Zorlutuna.

Curated by Noor Bhangu. Organized by Stride Gallery in Calgary, Alberta. September 17 – October 28, 2022.

Images: Photography by Eva Birhanu. Courtesy of Stride Gallery, 2022.

For more information on the exhibition, see: Ornament and Crime.