Opening of “AFFLUENCE OF THE WORKING CLASS FROM DIFFERENTIATION TO COLLECTIVISM (ON FASHION AND THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS)” at PAVILION center
This autumn, on the 10th of October 2013, PAVILION center for contemporary art and culture reopened with a new exhibition, “AFFLUENCE OF THE WORKING CLASS FROM DIFFERENTIATION TO COLLECTIVISM (ON FASHION AND THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS)”, curated by Răzvan Ion.
Participants: Marina Albu (RO), Maria Balea (RO), Cosmin Grădinariu (RO), Gergő Horváth (RO), Vladislav Mamyshev (RU), Radu Nițescu (RO), Adrian Paci (AL), Corneliu Porumboiu (RO), Andu Simion (RO), Felix Gonzalez-Torres (USA), Wu Tsang (USA)
“The mechanism through which consumption is stimulated often seen as “fashion”, or as a similar concept like “preprogrammed obsolescence”. Definitions of consumerism after the Second World War have distinguished the “fetishizing” of consumption, ideological manipulation of the consumer and rapid increase of human needs. One can argue that this consumerism is an effect of the instability of capitalism and concurrently, of its expansion, while fashion is a battlefield for the emerging new forms of interclass struggles. Fashion is a habit, a collective habit. Modern social codes allow the immediately inferior group to imitate the gestures and preferences of the superior ones. According to this model, groups of higher status are forced to adopt new styles in order to maintain their superiority or distinction,thus tastes strain down the social ladder. This happens periodically, hence a cyclic process is created, generating seemingly mysterious mutations that we call fashion. Fashion is not a bourgeois element, it becomes a necessary luxury.
The affluence of the middle class is seen as a means of imitation – identification with other groups. It is believed that mass production threatens to erode, to absorb, or to trivialise the differences between the classes, transforming the preservation of the ”distinction” into the prerogative of the privileged and elite groups. As a result, those who belong to the subordinate groups, instead of developing their own methods of exclusion, crave the ones from the higher status groups. An effect of reproducing social structures or imitating social behaviours follows close. According to the logic of the egalitarian society, when people don’t have to exhibit the social differences, they will not do so. If the law and the anonymity allow you to “escape” by being anyone you choose to be, then you will not try to redefine yourself. However, egalitarian logic quits functioning when applied to an ancien régime city. Despite the fact that there is a desire to observe dress codes, while doing so, people hope to impose a pattern on the mixture of strangers from the streets.
Răzvan Ion is theoretician, curator, cultural manager and political activist. He is the co-editor of PAVILION – journal for politics and culture, co-director of the BUCHAREST BIENNALE – Bucharest International Biennial for Contemporary Art, and in 2008 was appointed director of PAVILION – the center for contemporary art and culture in Bucharest. He was associate professor at University of California, Berkeley; Lisbon University; Central University of New York; University of London; Sofia University; University of Kiev; etc. He has held conferences and lectures at different art institutions like Witte de With, Rotterdam; Kunsthalle Vienna; Art in General, New York; rum46, Aarhus; Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon; la Casa Encedida, Madrid; New Langton, San Francisco; CCA, Tbilisi; Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj; University of Art, Cluj; etc. He writes for different publications and he recently curated ’From Contemplating to Constructing Situations’ and “Exploring the Return of Repression” at PAVILION, Bucharest and rum46, Aarhus. Presently, he is working on the book projects “Exploring the Return of Repression” and “Rhizomic Structures Of Art Institutions. Neo-Politics Of Culture”. He is a professor at the University of Bucharest where he teaches Curatorial Studies and Critical Thinking.
The opening as followed by an after party Reforma, held on PAVILION’s terrace where two of the artist from the exhibition, Andu Simion and Gergő Horváth, mixed live.
The exhibition is now opened for visit until the 16th of February 2014.
Photos: Sorin Florea
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