Rosslynd Piggott, Realm–peripheral scenes
⬤ Sutton Gallery 3 Mar - 1 Apr 2023
Decorative art. In the critical domain, the term implies an insult, as if to be “merely decorative” is the lowest of aspirations, the simplest of conveyances. Apart from being sardonically attacked by Dadaists and salaciously detourned by Surrealists, the practice has been radically recouped by predominantly queer strategies for at least three decades. But even such Rad Deco clearly fucks with craft and bastardises technique, thereby blocking accusations of decorousness. Committed decorative art, on the contrary, cares naught for gendered/feminised/maternalised stances. In place, it accepts the labour of its fruits and is content to withdraw into optical hermeneutics and sensorial stylistics. By choosing to unradically pursue aesthetic inquiry, decorative artmaking reroutes its historical dismissal by modernist and avant-garde polemics. In one sense, this will always be viewed as reactionary, due to its choice of passive/background/design priorities over active/foreground/concept stratagems. Yet trotting out these stultifying binaries here does a disservice to decorative art’s capacity to speak with its own vocabularies, and forward non-polemical notions of visuality.