mediocre.

 

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. 

See my first draft of inspiration for these series here!

 ‘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? 

Approaching the idea of mediocrity from a unique perspective, offering both deviating interpretations and unifying truths. The work itself, presented in an alternative fashion, encourages the audience to interact with the pieces and consider the implications of the term “mediocre” within the context of art.

The mediocre series is inspired by the everyday events of life which have normalized our existence to a socially acceptable level of mediocrity. Following a routine based on consumption and superficial labels has become the new normal.

 

As a society we have grown to accept the mediocre labels given by society as a universal, incontrovertible truth without stopping to question for ourselves.

The use of unstructured writing and simplicity of the colour palette are perceived as mediocre but they are juxtaposed against the complexity of balancing tones and shapes in a non conformist way.

© 2017 by Ane Alfeiran

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