Adornism: A Union of Art and Philosophy

Anto Christ with Crochet piece - By Hugo Rourke.  

The more one tries to define beauty, the more foolish the argument becomes. Is appearance relevant? We are surrounded by such confusing thoughts on the subject. On one hand, we are told through marketing, commercialism, conformism and more that the latest trends, expensive brands, mass marketed art and more are the end points of acceptable aestheticism. How one must look to fit in is clearly defined through mass media and one must do as the fashion and times dictate or else risk painfully standing out. On the other hand, we are taught that looks don’t matter. That it is what is on the inside that counts. It is said that one must not be shallow and think only on the aesthetic. How is a person to cope? I found an answer when I was lucky enough to meet Anto Christ. Hailing from Malta and Australia, Anto has resided in Berlin for close to four years. She is a self proclaimed Creative and one senses that immediately. Anto has founded a new art movement called Adornism. The mantra of the organization is Albert Camus’ statement, “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your existence is an act of rebellion.”

The Face of God by Anto Christ 2013. 

Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy that deals with themes that reside in the clouds. As Anatole France states in his The Disputes of the Flute-Players, “It is a castle in the air.” There is no way to determine what a pleasing aesthetic is. As soon as one arrives at a conclusion, and equal number of counter opinions will appear. Thus Adornism encourages the expression of emotion, opulence (because one cannot imagine that minimalism contains in it the cosmic soul), decoration and spirit. It is only when created through the genuine self that art is truthful. Adornists embody that. Let the universal goo be brilliant, and in this way be free from the constraints of the definition of beauty: to delineate what is or is not beautiful becomes irrelevant. The goal is to be to the fullest extent. Everything is sublime when created with the perfection of the true self.

So, it is official, looks do matter. That was really never the question, was it? The question should be, do looks need to conform since they are important? The answer to that can only come from within an individual. However, the Adornists provide a colorful world of creativity and freedom that will perhaps loosen the tight binding that fashion, religion, culture, and society place on the appearance of all of us. Adornists use the aesthetic to express their freedom and in doing so they help to set us all free.

As an aesthetic movement, Adornism is also a life philosophy. Anto Christ explains that Adornism has always existed, as the very earliest record of humans demonstrate that we were adorning ourselves in one way or another. She feels that Adornism simply has been given a name, but exists in all of us as one of the silent aspects that binds us together as sentient beings. Adornism is organic; one draws upon it as one draws upon the third eye or inner knowledge. These are elements that have been quashed in the modern bustle of technology and materialism. Adornism encourages its members to reignite the passion that lies in all of us, ignore the dictates of modern society and instead discover the true self through creativity. It is a movement for all: an extension of our beings.

Holly-Anne Buck, Jackie Taylor, Hadas, Hinkis, Anto Christ, Daria Mårchick - Photo: Douglas Prince. 

The works that define the Adornism movement fulfill the goals of the artist and exist purely for their own sake. If the aesthetic is important, then the creation of a visible work is important solely for its aesthetic value. The work should be created with hyper attention to detail and skill, so that the end product has a life of its own, befitting something made with both heart and ability.  It is customarily colorful, although that is not a prerequisite. However, if there is a work that has a more monotone color scheme then the artist should render it with intricate detail and skill. Layering, dimension, movement, flow: these are quintessential to the Adornist movement.

Creation by Frau Feeger - Photo: Douglas Prince. 

Adornism is a term that applies to art, fashion, theater, design, and many other aspects of life. It is the freedom to express individuality: fearlessness. If the world could operate without fear then the potential for beauty both inside and out would expound. It is an organic movement into which anyone who is compelled can join. Adornists support each other in their endeavors, help in the development of ideas and encourage the freedom of expression. It is inspired by such movements that also encouraged free and truthful expression such as the Surrealists and Dadaists. It is a movement that started in Berlin but it is in fact global, and thanks to technology, people all over the world can easily join.

Nathan French - Photo: Douglas Prince. 

Why is Adornism important? It is important because it helps us to deal with this confined world. In this world where answers to all questions can be dictated by the ubiquitous need to conform, Adornism provides a freedom from this constraint. It encourages working against whatever higher power that dictates what we are supposed to present to the world. It is ok not to fit in, and why would you want to anyway? No one knows why we are here, or what we should look like, so why not do as you feel and be free?

Adornist paintings often include texture and are of course bursting with color. Anto compares looking at her paintings to cloud watching because there are so many different aspects in them. Depending on where you are standing you see different things. A person can play with the images, and see endless possibilities. The art brings people together on all different levels. Adornists show at galleries, create for theater productions, do commission work. The Adornists are a community, they spend time together, spin their ideas, creating within the group. They recently had a show at the Ballery. It was a smorgasbord of magnificent color and design. The various Adornist artists created fabulous creations from sometimes seemingly banal items. The results were not only amazing, but emancipating by their creativity. It truly was a spectacle of color and creativity. For the blossoming movement of Adornism, the show at the Ballery was an opportunity for many Adornists in Berlin to come together and show their works.

Anto Christ - Photo: Douglas Prince.

How many people belong to the Adornism movement? It is hard to say, perhaps fifty to one hundred. Anyone can be an Adornist if they chose. Adornists look to each other for inspiration, are connected through facebook. There is a venue called Same Heads in Neukölln where many Adornists hang out. It is an artist shop, café, bar and performance venue: a place that supports the creativity in the community where ideas can blossom and grow.

We are a sum total of our experiences and every one of us is unique. Adornism celebrates this fact, and there is nowhere like Berlin where one can do this!

Many thanks to Anto Christ for her information on the Adornist movement.
The Adornist show at the Ballery.

By Sasha Prince
Sasha is a classical singer and animal lover and has been in Berlin since 2014. She is from the US and the place she lived the longest is Austin, Texas.

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