Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design

Hidden messages: Folk art as transgenerational heritage

Fashion in folk art, folk art in fashion
Project overview
Student name
Zsófia Papp
Degree level
Year of project
In my masterwork I deal with Folk Art as a transgenerational heritage.
The transcendent knowledge encoded in the symbolism of folk art, our cultural heritage, is an expression of a common identity. In the post-living folk art era, I explore the functional role of decorative arts and the actuality of symbols. By studying the development of embroidery in Kalocsa, I seek a contemporary reading of folk art and folk ornamentation, updating patterns and exploring levels of meaning in folk symbolism, with the aim of creating a link between our traditions and the 21st century man. Vegetal ornamentation is a symbol of the flow of culture and tradition, of constant renewal. The flower, as a feminine attribute, is a symbol of the feminine creative and vital force, which is passed down from generation to generation in the ’flower language’ of embroidery. It also speaks of the inseparable unity of the ancient relationship between nature and man.
My thesis deals with the topic of contemporary interpretation of folk art. In the thesis I conduct literature research on traditional folk art, its original function, its original medium and the circumstances of its emergence, development, and decline. I will also examine the emergence of folk art outside its original medium, the attempts to incorporate folk costumes and folk decoration into fashion and will look for the right way to use folk art today through examples of contemporary designers. In this thesis, I seek to answer questions such as: does contemporary folk art exist, and if so, what are its limits and how can it be integrated into the conservative traditionalist approach? To what extent can these boundaries be expanded today, when we no longer use the heritage of folk culture as part of the artistic activity of a living community, but as autonomous artists? What is the responsibility of a designer and what role can fashion play in keeping our folk traditions alive? The aim of my thesis is to summarise my experience and knowledge of folk art, and to explore my own work and the work of other designers to chart a course for myself and others on the value-creating ways I believe are appropriate for the contemporary use of folk art.
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