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22 May 2017

Fabulous Failures, Rencontres d’Arles 2016


Nowadays most art, design and photography portrays perfection. Contemporary popular culture is drowning under a tidal wave of superficiality and over-perfection. Posed, polished and controlled. As if it were a reflection of our endless search for clarity and calmness and an antidote for the chaos in our lives. Technology allows us to refine the desired illusion of perfection even more.

Digital techniques have created an abundance of images. We shoot and shoot until we get it right. The imperfect pictures get deleted and the good ones get a filter or a touch-up. In our perfection-obsessed culture we shy away from errors and that is, in my humble opinion, a disaster. An overabundance of skills and technological crutches eliminate the possibility of beautiful mistakes, of stunning failures and any result other than exactly what the maker set out to achieve.

Luckily, failing is something artists and photographers more and more take as a subject for their work. This exhibition shows a large overview of the best fabulous failures found in contemporary art, design and photography, made by a group of artists who like to fight perfection, embrace serendipity and search for fabulous failures.

Erik Kessels

With support from Olympus.
Prints by the artists, Processus, Paris, and Atelier Sunghee Lee, Arles.
Framings by A-frames, Amsterdam, Circad and Plasticollage, Paris.
Wallpaper by Oschatz Visuelle Medien, Niedernhausen.
Exhibition venue: Palais de l’Archevêché