12 Walls was an exhibition of contemporary architectural ornament in Veszprém, Hungary, in 2018 curated by Paradigma Aridane, for which I created the mural "Diadema", the description of which is below. Other contributors included Space Popular, Andrew Kovacs, Giacomo Pala and MNPL Workshop. Images by Balázs Danyi unless ohterwise stated
Ornament is not a language. Ornament doesn’t speak. It shouldn’t lecture and list and indicate or dictate. It’s not the rhetorical interface between reality and illusion, or of the superficial and the deep, or of the signifying and the inert. It’s not the teacher of meaning, but the lover of the body. It shouldn’t tell you anything, it should embrace you, entrance you, pick you up in its warmth and feed you oranges and then limes, and serenade you with kisses and press itself against you. It should be to a room as the aroma of baking bread is to a bakery, it should be the smell of fresh coffee in the morning in the kitchen, the steam that fills your lungs and turns to liquid on your skin in the Turkish bath, it should be the sound of birds and the rustling of the leaves while you stare at the blue sky, and the daffodils emerging from the ground in early spring. Ornament is not an added extra. It is not the surface. It is the very substance of our sensual engagement with any and all surroundings that have been made by the hands of (wo)man. Without it we are bereft, without it we are left hungry, and entirely alone. Residing in a room with only razor white walls, is torture; it is serving beautiful dishes that have no taste and no smell; It is being forced to lie with a cadaver; it is forgetting the face of someone you once loved. Ornament is the flush in the cheek, the colour of life in the eye, the suppleness of the skin in a body that is bursting with the will to live, it is the tangible proof that a space, that an architecture, has a beating heart, that it has blood flowing through its veins, that it feels, and cares, and loves, and reaches out to you in a permanent state of uncontained vitality. It is not the teacher of meaning, it is not the gateway to other worlds, it is the vigour of the fleshly moment captured in time for anyone and everyone who enters a space. Diadema is a taste of this, a crowning moment of chromatic delight in miniature, it is daffodils and lemons and the aroma of coffee for a wall in Veszprem, Hungary, in October of 2018.