Chapter

Ornamental Styles

András Bálint Kovács

in Screening Modernism

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780226451633
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226451664 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226451664.003.0010
Ornamental Styles

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The ornamental trend is a peculiar phenomenon of late modern cinema. Although traces of it appeared already at the emergence of modernism, it was characteristic of the second period starting from the late 1960s. Modern ornamentalism is not mere decoration or spectacular effect. Ornamental films may have theater as a cultural referential background, but most typically, their source is somewhere else. The source of modern ornamental style is either in different national folklore or in a religious or mythological context. Folklore and mythology for modern cinema is more an example of general human mental creativity than a set of ethnographic facts. Ornamental style in itself is not alien to modern art. The Viennese Secession and art nouveau are the most salient examples of modern ornamental styles in the early modern period. Ornamental elements in modern art are meant to convey some deeper meaning; they are meant to represent some kind of “inner reality” and express fantasy, emotions, or a psychological state of mind allegedly inexpressible by elements of surface reality.

Keywords: modern cinema; modernism; ornamentalism; ornamental films; ornamental style; folklore; mythology; modern art; reality; fantasy

Chapter.  6024 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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