Past Exhibitions

KABK MA Photography and Society The Ugly: Politics and Aesthetics of Taste

06 February 2020 – 28 March 2020


While understanding beauty commonly signifies intellectual refinement, appreciating ugliness reflects cultural vulgarity, or lack of good taste. In this exhibition, for example, while making a comment about an artwork can render you an aesthete, connoisseur, or an arbiter of taste, it can also make you a vulgar, pervert, or a tasteless person. What makes an art work ugly or beautiful, worthy of praise or condemnation, has to do with the dominant politics and aesthetics of taste in the era in which we live in. This exhibition examines why the ugly has been continuously represented, appreciated, and preserved across the globe. To do this, it delves deep into the ugly through its common global manifestations, such as: kitsch, pornography, abjection, profanation. 

About the artists

The seven artists exhibited were part of the master’s degree in Photography and Society, lectured by Ali Shobeiri at the Royal Academy of Art The Hague. The present works are the product of collective discussion and joint creative processes of the participants.

Shadman Shahid On kitsch as the language of the masses

Alexander Cabeza Trigg On abjection as the the atavistic

Mads Holm On profanation of the utmost unprofanable

Mari Kolcheva On abjection as the boundary between seductiveness and horror

Dmitri Kostyukov On profanation of the uncanny valley

Guglielmo Giomi On abjection as moving closer to our animal origins

Thijs van Stigt On “The ideal citizen” as a partial view of reality