Giulia Ricci: Artist in Residence at Middlesex University

We invited Giulia Ricci, artist in residence with the Fine Art Department at Middlesex University, to share her experience of  visits to MoDA’s Study Room:

Silver Studio design SD10982

Silver Studio design SD10982


[My work] The Grammar of Order is a piece of work consisting of a series of A1 digital prints; these loose sheets form a catalogue of patterns which are collected in a portfolio. As the title indicates, this work pays homage to Owen Jones’ The Grammar of Ornament and is the result of my residency at Middlesex University.

Between November 2011 and March 2012 I visited MoDA and looked at a wide range of items spanning from the 1880s to the 1960s. My research focused on items that presented geometrical patterns and grids.  These were mostly wallpaper samples and designs for wallpapers and textiles.


The Grammar of Order was made in response to the observation of these designs for domestic use, which form a significant part of the inspiration behind my vocabulary. I set out to create my own catalogue of patterns by using the formal language that I’ve been developing over a number of years. This consists of patterns composed of isosceles right-angle triangles.

By using a variety of tiling combinations, I produced more than 200 different patterns encompassing features and structures from a wide range of designs and styles I observed at MoDA.
Silver Studio design, SD10434

Silver Studio design, SD10434

I grouped my patterns into themes that are important within my own practice: alphabet, flora, fauna, symmetry, asymmetry, crystals and boxes. Some of the invented names of my taxonomy hint at relations to figuration, despite the work appearing completely abstract. The basic unit in the alphabet series is a 2×2 grid which inscribes 4 triangles; this is the smallest unit used to compose all the patterns. The other families are made from a 4×4 grid, each featuring 16 triangles.


The Grammar of Order is potentially a work-in-progress that could expand endlessly; its elements form a sort of periodic table of patterns that can be combined in almost innumerable ways to generate other patterns.


Exploring MoDA’s archives has given me the possibility of seeing a wide range of patterns from a variety of historical periods; I have found it extremely exciting to be able to see how different styles developed and changed over the years. Looking at original designs has given me the possibility of observing the tiling of patterns; this has been the most influential aspect in relation to my practice and it is reflected in The Grammar of Order, because the combinations of the patterns I created are generated through symmetry, mirroring, repetition, combination and rotation.

Watch Giulia’s video from the exhibition MiD AiR held in the Grove building at Middlesex University (Hendon, London) from October 9 to 31 2012.

MID AIR – Giulia Ricci, artist in residence at Middlesex University from Giulia Ricci on Vimeo.

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