Some Say Tragic, Some Say Funny
VISA – 322U
FINA Gallery, UBCO
October 20 – 26, 2023
A few years ago, emerged a new contemporary art theory that got everyone excited. It was edgy, sounded serious and it was bold. It offered something that genuinely echoed a shared common sensation emanating from art made today. Hollywood star Shia LaBeouf even refers to a manifesto synthesizing its core tenets, situating this theory as a trendy way of approaching art theory. However, Under the appearance of an ephemeral fab, lay an ever-relevant set of ideas. These “feelings” seem a good way to approach the Advanced Sculpture Students’ exhibition “Some Say Tragic, Some Say Funny”.
Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin Van den Akker, in their essay Notes on metamodernism, proposed a theoretical approach that would take opposites into consideration: sincerity and irony, refinement and rawness, pragmatism and intuition. They would refer to “structures of feeling” to pinpoint a state of mind specific to contemporary life. The term metamodernism itself wasn’t new, but the theory offered a perspective that straddled diverging historical perspectives and seemed to rally deeply entrenched positions regarding modern idealism and post-modern cynicism.
The title of this exhibition refers to this oscillation between two states of mind, and to the difficulty we are facing today in assigning value to our experiences while judging the magnitude of current events around us. I often noticed that oscillating state of mind amongst my students. The highly structured yet continuously vacillating world we are living in might not be foreign to the emergence of these conditions. The works found in this exhibition broadly explore notions specific to sculpture and succeed in generating a broad variety of thoughts and emotions. The students were free to explore and independently develop themes meaningful to them, and bring their ideas to reality using materials and methods of their choosing.
Associate Professor, Creative Studies
VISA -322 Instructor
 Vermeulen, Timotheus, and Robin Van Den Akker. “Notes on metamodernism.” Journal of aesthetics & culture 2.1 (2010): 5677.