The Research Network “Ornament: Motif – Mode – Image” is a cooperation between the NCCR Iconic Criticism - eikones, the Emmy Noether Junior Research Group "Kosmos/Ornatus" and external partners (EHESS Paris, Kunsthistorisches Institut Florenz/MPI, Ruhr-University Bochum, UdK Berlin, University of Cologne).
Ornament enables the identification of pictures as ordering structures of the visible. With ornament it becomes clear that pictures do not merely depict, but also give structure. So ornament can be conceived of as an indicator of a picture's potential which does not lie primarily in its depicting capacity. This approach relates to the recent debates attributing a decisive effectual force to ornament as parergon. However, in contrast to such rhetorically oriented approaches, the specific visual quality of various historical forms of ornament will be brought into view. Thus, ornament will no longer be understood as mere decoration, nor as the mere functionless object of a history of style. Instead, it will be conceivable as a graphic structure which generates meaning in its own way. The research network examines ornament, independently of depiction, in its various historical and cultural articulations, for its own graphic function. Thus ornament can be located as a mode between image and motif.
Directors: Vera Beyer (Emmy Noether Research Group "Kosmos/Ornatus") and Christian Spies (eikones)
The network was founded in August 2006 and meets twice a year for a workshop. The following workshops have taken place so far: