March 28 - April 27, 2018
Artists: Ane Alfeiran, Jeff Chow, Michelle Claase, Hugo Diker, Yuki Furusawa, Sophie Horrocks & Philippine Vidart
An inquiry into what elevates the ordinary to the extraordinary.
What are the signifiers of mediocrity? Culture, race, class, and experiential differences define the very nature of the term. A thing labelled ‘mediocre’ is only less exceptional than the other thing to which it is compared – a ‘mediocre’ experience does not match up with the experience of value or ‘specialness.’
But the experience – and following, the judgment – of art’s worthiness is hardly original. That which is termed ‘mediocre’ fails to match something that has already been labelled as exceptional, but the individual art-user seldom has autonomy to evaluate, label, and describe the exceptional for themselves. Remarkable art is elevated; mediocre art is overlooked – but only after undergoing another, more powerful agent’s litmus test of aesthetic, skill and value.
‘Mediocre’ is not an objective judgment, but rather a layered and complex comparison in the viewer’s mental Rolodex of previous experiences. The inquiry of ‘Mediocre’ is, therefore: If this is ‘mediocre,’ it is ‘mediocre’ compared to what? And where, how and by who is that ‘what’ defined?
If we remove the overly elevated criteria and hand-me-down concept of ‘exceptional,’ then the label ‘mediocre’ becomes arbitrary; it exists only as an impression of the viewer’s frame of reference.
Is it possible to view a thing for what it is, without holding it up against a preconceived notion of what it should – or even could – be?