The Group Show at Fruitmarket Seeks to Ignite Conversations about Social Class Through Sculpture, Balasz Takac, δημοσίευση στο Widewalls [3/3/2023]Marilena Pateraki
Class consciousness remains a relevant concept, given the widening economic inequality and class divisions driven by the expansion of capitalism. The art world itself is a highly competitive market thoroughly permeated with issues of social privilege and inequality, impacting the ways in which art is produced, distributed, and valued. This is why initiating a public dialogue concerning class issues is as important as ever.
The most recent contribution to this conversation is a group exhibition titled Poor Things, which will soon be on view at Fruitmarket. Curated by the artists Emma Hart and Dean Kenning, the upcoming show explores the sculpture in the context of social class.
The Class Struggle and Art
As a social relation driven by inequality and exploitation, both Ema Hart and Dean Kenning understand the notion of class and its reproduction in terms of economic, social, and cultural capital. For instance, artists from lower-class backgrounds are not only underprivileged in terms of money but also in terms of time, space, availability, and contacts. Hart and Kenning explained:
When talking together in front of our work, we’ve come to recognize that often the decisions that manifest in our sculptures around the subject matter, materials, and methods harbor questions about social class.
Moreover, they feel these sculptures “can speak to us about our world and leave a dent in someone else’s,” generating responses beyond aesthetic appreciation. They add that strategies within their work, such as “manual production, liveness, entertainment, the use of everyday objects and materials, dumb humour, and a popular visual graphic vocabulary of figures and gestures,” have a significant potential “to ignite discussions about class.”
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