A talk by John Walter, curator of Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness.This event is delivered in partnership with Ulster University.
John Walter is an artist, curator, director, academic and writer. He is the curator of Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness at the MAC; a group exhibition that proposes awkwardness in visual art as a device through which to address a range of subjects, including gender, identity, beauty and the body.
John’s art practice is grounded in theoretical and empirical research, his installations seducing visitors into engaging with complex and often uncomfortable subjects such as sexual health through an exuberant use of colour, humour and hospitality. John places an emphasis on the role of the artist to move towards the viewer in order to engage them in his ideas. Through acts of generosity - that range from using the format of the bar, to using popular imagery his work – he attempts to involve audiences using carnivalesque strategies. His use of performance is a form of drag that is jestered as opposed to gendered, in which the pose of fool can facilitate audiences to consider subjects that might otherwise be addressed as earnest. This extends to the material qualities of his work that, whether in analogue or digital form, explore shonkiness; a method in which craft "Badness" is privileged above slick production values or perfect craft.
Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness, curated by John Walter for the Hayward Touring Curatorial Open is on at the MAC from 20 October 2017 – 14 January 2018.
Photo credit: John Walter, The John McCririck Memorial Bar, 2013, Installation view
Ambika P3, London. Photography by Jonathan Bassett © The artist. Courtesy the artist