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Criminal Ornamentation: Yinka Shonibare Curates the Arts Council Collection

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Criminal Ornamentation brings together over 80 works by a number of celebrated artists, selected and curated by Yinka Shonibare CBE.

Reflective of Yinka’s own practice, this exhibition explores the cultural and social dimensions of the use of pattern in modern and contemporary art. The title of the show is taken from Adolf Loos’ 1908 influential essay ‘Ornament and Crime’. In this essay Loos’ examines the notions of good and bad taste and condemns the use of decoration and craft as an indication of the lowest level of cultural development, to the extent of stating ‘the modern man who tattoos himself is a criminal.’ Yinka Shonibare CBE challenges this notion by saying ‘Adolf Loos was clearly a man of his time in his snobbish revolutionary zeal to abandon ornamentation as he saw it as the pre-occupation of the working classes and degenerates’.

Included in the exhibition are a range of works that Shonibare has chosen to challenge the notion of the ornament as crime. Shonibare looks to embrace colour, ornament and pattern as a means for social and political expression.

Image Credit: Yinka Shonibare CBE, Line Painting, 2003, © the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery (London)

 

 

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