Islamic Design in Andalucia

The richness of invention of Andalusi architecture lies not in the structure but in the ornamental skin of plaster, wood and clay. To Islamic artisans and their patrons, the infinitely expanding patterns of star-fields and symmetric tessellations were an expression of the spiritual or royal authority within an ornamental canon that deliberately avoided direct imitation of nature from observation. In the ajulejo mosaic and plasterwork skins that ornamented mosque and palace architecture, figure-ground relationships and pictorial illusionism are suppressed in favor of an aesthetic in which negative space is completely filled.
The proposed work included travel to produce photographic documentation of the fine surface detail of Andalusian architecture

and gardens. This photographic record will be integrated into an artistic response to the collision of cultures that took place during the 8th–15th centuries, and which is mirrored in our own time. While the architectural deposits in Andalusia can be studied from a purely aesthetic perspective, the intent of the proposed work is to leave the viewer with a deeper appreciation of the spiritual elements present in Andalusian ornamentation as seen in Córdoba, Granada and Sevilla.