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装饰即罪恶?这可能只是偏见第1张图片

© Aga Khan Award for Architecture

装饰、罪恶与偏见:路斯的宣言并没有真正理解大众
Ornament, Crime & Prejudice: Where Loos' Manifesto Fails to Understand People

由专筑网邢子,李韧编译

这篇文章最初发表“CommonEdge”上,标题为“非洲建筑:装饰、罪恶与偏见”。

我一直对建筑理论着迷。多年来,我读过很多作品,但没有一本像《装饰与罪恶》那样让我感到好奇、困惑和不安。这是阿道夫·路斯(Adolf Loos)在第一次世界大战爆发前几年写的一篇有争议的论战。

我第一次读到路斯的文章的时候还是一名在欧洲学习设计的年轻非洲学生。这篇文章让我感到不安的原因有两个:我正在学习成为一名“现代”设计师,阅读合适的文学经典,但同时我的背景文化充满着装饰,因此这件作品感觉像是对我所代表的文化特征的直接否定。

这是一个很难处理的问题,但是把这篇文章放在它的历史背景下,就形成了良好的理解视角。当时,路斯的这篇文章本质上是对历史决定论的抨击,这主要针对他在维也纳分离派运动中的老战友,他曾短暂参与过这一运动。这篇文章像是一种网络言论,但是在互联网产生的前一百年,他就对一些现状进行了抨击。然而,在我看来,路斯设计的案例及其引用的类比方式都具有攻击性,尤其是他将任何形式的装饰物的使用比作Papua New Guinean的传统,即把它们的身体描绘成“假定的”美丽标志。他说,装饰对于现代人来说是一种失常。“装饰品不仅仅由罪犯制造。”他进一步断言,“它本身就是罪恶……”

This article was originally published on CommonEdge as "African Architecture: Ornament, Crime & Prejudice."
I have always been fascinated by architectural theory. Over the years I’ve read a wide range of works, but none of them intrigued, perplexed and unsettled me as much as “Ornament and Crime,”Adolf Loos’ controversial polemic written a handful of years before the outbreak of World War I.
I first came across Loos’ essay as a young African design student living in Europe. The essay unnerved me for two reasons: I was studying to become a “modern” designer, reading the appropriate canon of literature, but I’d come from a culture deeply rooted in ornamentation, so the piece felt like a direct affront on a key aspect of my cultural identity.
It was a difficult reality to process, but placing the essay in its historical context offered a better perspective. At that time, Loos had written the essay as essentially an attack on historicism (one largely targeted against his old comrades at the Vienna Secession, a movement he briefly belonged to). The piece was a sort of internet rant, a hundred years before the internet—he was taking a sledgehammer to the status quo. Still, from my perspective, the case Loos made and the analogies cited (especially one where he likened the use of ornamentation in any form to the Papua New Guinean tradition of painting their bodies as a “supposed” mark of beauty), bordered on the offensive. Ornamentation, for the modern man, he said, was an aberration. “Ornament is not merely produced by criminals,” he further asserted, “it commits a crime itself…”

装饰即罪恶?这可能只是偏见第2张图片

© Villa Müller. Image © Flickr user adamgut licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

即使在那时,作为一名二十多岁的未受教育的设计师,我也知道有所区别。在传统的非洲社会,在艺术和乡土建筑中使用装饰必不可少。它将大多数当地部落与他们早期的文明和部落宇宙论联系起来。如果没有装饰,大多数非洲部落的历史将不完整,因为这些象征符号不仅仅是装饰,或者是颓废乐趣的来源,它们看起来令人愉悦,也是深刻而微妙的历史资料宝库。

对于大多数非洲部落来说,带有装饰的传统建筑可以通过图案、颜色和装饰来讲述故事,或是独立的雕塑,或是嵌入墙壁、门板和其他建筑元素的浮雕。例如,在传统的Yoruba建筑中,用来支撑屋顶的象征性柱子就像图腾柱,雕塑元素层层堆叠,代表着众神、战争甚至是部落征战的号召。

对于这些部落来说,建筑装饰也是一种共享的交流方式。大多数非洲部落各自语言的复杂性和局限性常常使他们难以以书面形式呈现自己的历史,因此这些部落的人们通常使用图形策略,即在建筑物、器皿、衣服和家具上蚀刻大部分图形。一些非洲部落词汇很难翻译成常用英语,通常某些词没有字面意义,只能自行推断。其次由于有很多的种族和群体,他们都说着不同的方言,那么,用一种大家都能理解的语言来呈现这些历史便非常困难。

不同的部落有着不同的文化水平。因此,一些部落用独特的象形文字构成了他们自己的识字系统。古老的阿善堤帝国(Ashanti Empire)的Adinkra符号仍然被用作加纳阿坎人(Akans)的织物图案。Robert Sutherland Rattray在他的著作《阿善堤的宗教与艺术(Religion and Art In Ashanti)》中识别、记录并解释了至少50种这样的符号。例如,棕榈树(Abe Dua)象征着财富、自足、坚韧和活力,而鸡脚(Akoko nan)象征着父母、关怀、温柔和保护。尼日利亚东南部的伊博人(Igbo)有一种类似的表意文字叫做“Nsibidi”,尼日利亚三角洲周围其他较小的少数民族也在使用这种文字。

Even then, as an unschooled designer in my twenties, I knew different. In traditional African societies, the use of ornamentation in art and vernacular architecture is essential. It connects most local tribes to their earlier civilizations and tribal cosmologies. Without ornamentation, the history of most African tribes would be incomplete because, these symbols are not mere decorations, or sources of decadent pleasure (although they remain pleasing to look at), they are deep and subtle repositories of history.
For most African tribes, ornamented traditional buildings, tell stories through pattern, color and ornamentation, either with free-standing sculptures or as reliefs embedded into walls, door panels, and other architectural elements. In traditional Yoruba architecture, for example, the figurative house posts used to support the roof are like totem poles, with one sculptural element stacked atop another, representing a pantheon of deities or even a roll call of battles and tribal conquests.
For these tribes, architectural ornamentation also acts as a shared means of communication. The complexity of the individual languages of most African tribes and their linguistic limitations often made it difficult to present their histories in written form, so the tribes typically resorted to iconographies, most of which they etched on buildings, utensils, clothing and furniture. Some African tribal words are difficult to translate into everyday English; often there are no literal meanings for certain words, just inferences. And because there were numerous ethnic groups and sub-groups, all of whom spoke different languages and dialects, it was difficult presenting these histories in a single language that everyone understood.
Different tribes had different levels of literacy. As a result, some tribes devised their own indigenous systems of literacy, using unique pictograms. The Adinkra symbol from the old Ashanti Empire is still used as a motif on fabrics created by the Akans in Ghana. In his remarkable book, Religion and Art in Ashanti, Robert Sutherland Rattray identified, recorded and interpreted at least fifty of these symbols. For instance, the symbol of a palm tree (Abe Dua) connoted wealth, self-sufficiency, toughness and vitality, while that of the hen’s feet (Akoko nan) signified parenthood, care, tenderness and protection. The Igbo people in South East Nigeria had a similar ideographic writing script called the Nsibidi, which was also used by other smaller ethnic minorities in Nigeria’s Niger-Delta.

装饰即罪恶?这可能只是偏见第3张图片


南部非洲的恩德贝勒人(Ndebele)通过在家里描绘明亮的图案来表达一系列的情绪,从显而易见的政治反抗的神秘符号,到反抗布尔人的压迫者,再到用来表达悲伤、喜悦、祈祷的图案,甚至是房主的社会地位应有尽有。如今,这些图案仍然在使用,因为它们代表了一些有记录的历史,任何文化都不能将其完全抛弃。甚至在当代非洲建筑中,它们仍然具有重要意义,塞内加尔Kaolack的Patric Dujaic设计的Alliance-Franco Senegalaise,因其对一些民族图案和颜色的创新运用,赢得了1995年的阿迦汗建筑奖。

如果路斯如今还健在,他肯定会被当前的美学潮流所质疑,因为这几乎是彻头彻尾的罪恶。与他那著名的预言“一座像锡安一样全白的城市,所有的建筑墙壁都漆成闪亮的白色”恰恰相反,当今的现代主义者越来越喜欢色彩、图案和装饰,并且正在使用复杂的建筑形式,而就在不久前,纯白色的盒子就已经足够了。

今天,非洲的装饰艺术正在寻找融入当代设计不同领域的方式。来自纽约的尼日利亚设计师Laolu Senbanjo设计的奥里艺术图案,其设计灵感来自传统的约鲁巴神话,这种设计方式不仅在非洲散居侨民中非常流行,而且在世界各地都很受欢迎。这些图案中的一些为干邑白兰地、名牌香水瓶、甚至耐克运动服装等产品增色不少。这件事好坏与否或许是另一篇文章的主题,但很明显,非洲装饰的美具有强大的吸引力。

事实证明,路斯错了,不仅错了一点点,而是一条巨大的鸿沟。与他的预言相反,非洲社会永远不会通过抛弃装饰而向前发展,并且也许没有哪个社会会这么做。如果今天我们抹杀了历史,否认群体特征,拒绝承认过去的更深层次的乐趣,那才是真正的罪行。但是,我们反而要感谢阿道夫·路斯为我们指出了这一点。

The Ndebele people of Southern Africa conveyed a whole range of emotions through the bright patterns painted on their homes: everything from the cryptic symbols of political resistance, displayed in plain sight, to spite their Boer oppressors, to motifs used to express grief, joy, prayers, even the social status of the homeowner. Today these patterns are still in use, because they represent a bit of recorded history that no culture can afford to completely discard. They remain relevant in even contemporary African architecture: the Alliance-Franco Senegalaise, designed by Patric Dujaic, in Kaolack, Senegal, won the Aga Khan Award in 1995 for its dynamic use of some of these ethnic patterns and colors.
If Loos were alive today, he would certainly be mortified by current aesthetic trends, which border on the downright criminal. Rather than fulfill his infamous prophesy of building “...an all-white city—where all the building walls were painted in glowing white—just like Zion”, today’s modernists are increasingly embracing color, pattern and ornamentation, and are using complex building forms where plain white boxes would have sufficed in the recent past.
African ornamentation is today finding its way into other spheres of contemporary design. The Spirit of Ori art patterns (inspired by traditional Yoruba mythology) designed by New York-based Nigerian Laolu Senbanjo, have become popular not just among the African diaspora, but all over the world. Some of these patterns grace cognac, designer perfume bottles, and even Nike sports apparel. Whether this is ultimately a good thing is perhaps the subject for another essay, but it’s clear that the beauty of African ornamentation exerts a powerful pull.
As it turns out, Loos had it wrong, not just by a little, but by an epic chasm. Contrary to his predictions, African societies won’t move forward by discarding its ornaments. (Maybe no society will.) Today erasing history, denying our collective identities, and rejecting the deeper pleasures of acknowledging the past, are the real crimes. Today, we can thank Adolf Loos for reminding us of that.

装饰即罪恶?这可能只是偏见第4张图片

© Aga Khan Award for Architecture

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