I AM JUST DOING AESTHETICS
 
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Artist : Wisnu Auri  
17 September - 18 October 2015



 
Element Art Space is pleased to present Wisnu Auri's first Singapore solo exhibition. Titled I am just Doing Aesthetics, this show explores the ‘power of disturbing taste,’ which seeks to define judgments about art and the beauty of nature. Moving away from his previous series which focused on found-objects, this emerging artist returns to paintings yet continues with his fascination of nostalgia and the present. The struggle between beautiful and ugly, present and past and the evolution of art styles. In this exhibition, he focuses on taste as an individual's personal and cultural patterns of choice, and draws distinction between things such as styles, manners and works of art. Auri questions the viewer's taste and their ability to judge what is beautiful, good and proper. 
 
The concept of aesthetics has been the interest of philosophers such as Plato, David Hume and Immanuel Kant, who understood aesthetics as something pure and searched the essence of beauty. But it was not before the beginning of the cultural sociology of early 19th century that the question was problematised in its social context, which took the differences and changes in historical view as an important process of aesthetical thought. In his aesthetic philosophy, Kant denies any standard of good taste, which would be the taste the majority or any social group. For Kant, beauty is not a property of any object, but an aesthetic judgment based on a subjective feeling. He claims that a genuine good taste does exist, but it could be identified. Good taste cannot be found in any standards or generalisations, and the validity of a judgment is not the general view of taste or some specific social group. Taste is both personal and beyond reasoning, and therefore disputing over matters of taste never reaches universality.
 
Every judgment of taste, presumes the existence of a consensus of taste. A judgment does not take for granted that everyone agrees with it, but it proposes the community to share the experience. This is what Auri is trying to propose to the audience--create a discussion and offer a shared or non-shared feeling among other viewers. In "I am just Doing Aesthetic No. 8," for example, he vandalises a baroque style portrait with splashes of street-art-like paint and challenges the viewers to judge whether something beautiful that has been visually disturbed can still be aesthetically pleasing. The audience's preferences, even on generally liked things, do not justify our judgments. With this in mind, we very much hope that Auri's works will provide an inquisitive journey to all of you.