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'General Aesthetics', Group Show at SmallvIlle Space, Neuchâtel

“General Aesthetics” invites us to reflect upon the complex and melancholic reality of modern masculinity as expressed through contemporary art. César Axel, Tudor Ciurescu, and Simone Filippo have sought to delve into the intricacies of the male experience in the 21st century through their works.

The exhibition explores themes of male vulnerability, gaming, online loneliness, and intimacy, offering a pessimistic view of the world that many men hold. These works, deeply introspective and thought-provoking, shed light on the ways in which technology has both connected and isolated us, and the anxieties that arise from societal pressures placed upon men. They invite comparison to seminal feminist and conceptual art movements of the late 20th century such as Barbara Kruger and Jenny Holzer and align with Kant's ideals of self-reflection and contemplation.

In this sense, “General Aesthetics” invites us to engage with the downside of male condition, and explore the meaning of being a man in today's society. It challenges our perspectives and invites us to immerse ourselves in the world of male vulnerability, reflecting upon our own experiences and beliefs.

This text was generated by Chat-GPT after prompts by Mélanie Courtinat.

It was beautiful. Forests, green fields, a thousand lakes full of fish. The fauna was rich. The animal life, vigorous, composed of insects, birds, like passerines. There was everything, even bats, naturally imported. Then, everything had been twisted, flattened, annihilated by the systematic vitrification of the planet Harvest* orchestrated by the zealous Ministry of Quietude.

2023. Back on earth, under the stratus, in Smallville. For its first exhibition of the year, carte blanche is given to a young international collective (Mexico, Italy, Romania). Collaborating regularly since their studies at the ECAL, this trio shares the same devotion for the culture and aesthetics of online communities. Their intervention "General Aesthetics" deals with meta-signification through the elaboration of a typical space. Nourished by references to the aesthetics dear to the culture of gamers, this iconographic anthology stemming from the imagery fed by online communities and para-social dynamics, reveals the illusions produced by the de-concretization of the physical world in the digital age. Between the issue of storage, the environmental impact of sterile productivity and sensory imbalance, "General Aesthetics" encourages visitors to flee the exhibition space. To leave the interior to take a deep breath, to smoke a cigarette on the balcony, to put on some cologne to go out and flirt, to go out and see nature, or what is left of it, or to reconnect with reality, if it still exists...

A shadow appears in the clouds of ashes. It glides over the plain transformed into a glass skating rink. The gloved finger lingers on the trigger of the flamethrower. It's going to be a blast.

"Hey Flood**! Can you put on some pants and come set the table please!"

*A fictional planet related to the Halo video game franchise (Xbox Game Studios)

** Species of fictional parasite present in almost all episodes of the video game Halo

Text by Renaud Loda

17.2.23 — 18.3.23

w/ Simone Nicola Filippo, Tudor Ciurescu, César Axel

SmallvIlle Space

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