Aesthetic Roots: Floral Mobile

For my final project, I am drawing aesthetic inspiration specifically from the artist, Rebecca Louise Law, and the movie, Midsommar. Real flowers take center stage in Law’s sculptures and in the movie Midsommar. As far as relating these works to modern movements, I would consider this floral aesthetic to be rooted stylistically in the Arts & Crafts Movement and functionally in the Aesthetic Movement.

Rebecca Louise Law Aesthetic [1]         

                    Rebecca Louise Law Aesthetic [1]                                                      Midsommar Aesthetic [2]

The Arts and Crafts Movement (1850-1914) was born from a societal distrust of industrial production [3]. This caused a boom in high-quality, hand made goods. The movement particularly idealized medieval life and designs [4]. Work made in the Arts & Craft style was mostly made from natural materials such as wood and evoked natural imagery such as intricate floral patterns. One of the most notable artists of the movement, William Morris, created hundreds of woodblock designs that were printed on wallpaper, furniture upholstery, curtains, ceramics, and fashion accessories [5]. On top of the stylistic goals, the Arts and Crafts Movement upheld the Victorian morals and it was believed that art should have a moral or socio-political message [6].

“Strawberry Thief” print by William Morris [5]

The Aesthetic Movement (1870-1900) came as pushback to the morals of the Arts and Crafts movement [3]. Stylistically, the Aesthetic movements shied away from fussy Victorian decor, preferring geometric designs and simplified linear forms [6]. While the movements differed in style, they particularly disagreed on the function of art. While the Arts and Crafts Movement was grounded in Victorian moralism, the Aesthetic Movement was all about “art for art’s sake”, meaning the only purpose of art was for beauty and self-expression [6].

Teapot by Christopher Dresser [6]

Despite these two movements being at odds with one another, I find that Law’s sculptures, the designs/costumes/sets used in the movie Midsommar, and my final project are rooted in both movements. Stylistically, my project draws inspiration from the Arts and Crafts Movement. I will be hanging flowers from highly decorated wooden dowels to create the mobile structure. The dowels particularly draw inspiration from the highly decorated medieval (Viking/traditional Scandinavian) set pieces in Midsommar. However, functionally I take inspiration from the Aesthetic Movement. My only goal is to create something purely for the sake of beauty, that holds no obvious moral or socio-political message.

References

[1] https://www.rebeccalouiselaw.com/artwork/beauty-decay-series-2
[2] https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8772262/mediaviewer/rm1884590593
[3] Fiell, Charlotte & Peter. Design of the 20th Century. Taschen America, 2012.
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arts_and_Crafts_movement
[5] https://mymodernmet.com/arts-and-crafts-movement-william-morris/
[6] https://www.theartstory.org/movement/aesthetic-art/

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Fiona Bell
    Nicole Leon-Molina
    April 8, 2020 12:00 pm

    Fiona, I like that you’re taking the challenge to incorporate two conflicting aesthetics. It is clever of you to notice that the functionality of your project relates to the aesthetic movement. Given that you were planning on making a large, moving structure, are you still planning to proceed physically despite the quarantine? What do your options look like now?

    Reply
    • I decided that my initial design was a bit too ambitious given my lack of resources in quarantine, so I decided to pair down my design to just the floral mobile part rather than the multiple floral mobiles that hang off of an automaton. The mobile is still very large (floor to ceiling), but it does not require a machine shop for fabrication, which is ideal.

      Reply

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