Ornament is fine
NGV Australia

Free entry

NGV Australia, Federation Square

Level 2

UNTIL JUL

OPEN 10am–5pm DAILY

This exhibition of ceramic objects by Melbourne-based designers Ben Landau and Lucile Sciallano explores a new perspective on the relationships between craft and technology.

Rejecting the modernist maxim of ‘form follows function’, the designers have created wildly decorative objects for three domestic settings, drawing into focus the emergence of a new, organic high-tech aesthetic language only made possible by the advent of computer-aided design, 3D printing and robotics.

The title of this exhibition, Ornament is fine, pokes fun at the seminal essay Ornament and Crime (1913), written by modernist architect Adolf Loos, who argued that the highly ornate designs of the time caused objects to rapidly go out of style and thus become obsolete.

Loos was alluding to a new moral design code of twentieth-century modernism – a period of design where ornament was stripped away and replaced by seemingly more efficient systems for the production of standardised objects and buildings that could be produced on an industrial scale.

The work presented here is made by 3D clay printers that the designers have built themselves. Programmed, the 3D printers tirelessly create the ever-changing visual language of technology, where the mechanical method of extruding the clay, the forces of physics and material properties of the clay itself define the end product, each a small marker of a rapidly emerging world where designers design systems of making, and where ornament is fine.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.