When reflecting upon modern society and its characteristics, one element that comes straight to mind is the desire of perfection and the following attempt of depicting it. Art, social media, human interactions and even the development of our personal identity are often tied to a subconscious desire of posed, polished shapes and images. We take many photos of the same subject, modifying them with filters and corrections, to delete all the mistakes and obtain an idealized image of what we saw. We conceal blemishes and chose clothes that flatter our figure, to hide imperfections and obtain a polished “magazine-like” image of ourselves. We align furniture, we match carpets and curtains and we chose their disposition to bring aesthetic harmony to a room. We do all these things unconsciously, sometimes, to bring order, control and balance to our life, to our perception of this constantly changing and chaotic world. We fight the smudged banality of everyday routine with clean lines and shots.
When reflecting about this craving for equilibrium and perfection, one may find some inspiration at the Fabulous Failures Exhibition. The expo, hosted at Botanique from the 22nd of June to the 20th of August, collects the works of some artists who decided to break the schemes in a two-floor room. They decided to focus their attention particularly on the imperfections and discrepancies of every day, stressing them and putting them under the spotlights. They find the inspiration in the streets of Brussels, on social media, in what they do and see on a daily basis. They propose details we usually don’t consider or don’t even notice around us, because they don’t respect the harmony of the environment, or the common aesthetic rules. The show presents pictures extracted from reality, such as the broken tiles of the sidewalk, card box piled up in the middle of the street, unusual photographic perspective that change the meaning of the pictures, and creative collages.
Even though almost all the pictures present have been modified and filtered and they have been taken by professionals to present the subjects at their best -in a way, contradicting the spirit of the show-, they do succeed in portraying reality and the fascinating world behind imperfections. The objects and situations shown feel familiar, known: we pass next to them every day, noting their contrast with the surroundings, but also their small, peculiar beauty. A video of a young girl jumping up and down some loosen tiles on the street reminds of childhood, of games with friends and light heartedness, while the mixed puzzles recall nights in with friends, looking for the last, missing piece of the board.
Fabulous Failures reminds us that perfection can be found also through mistakes and ordinary elements of our routine. Polishing the edges, touching up photos and aligning the furniture in the room just for a picture doesn’t correspond to a reliable representation of reality nor it translates to order and equilibrium. The true balance -and satisfaction- may lay in between chaos and order, in a piece of art that combines the attention for both the aesthetic composition and the “unacceptable” smudges of our ephemeral life.