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Left out

Thursday, April 28, 2011

As I walked through the exhibition, I imagined at some point that I was not there with my fellow art students, but with a friend of mine who is a biologist. This made me feel excluded; I knew that the content of the works on show contained a lot of ‘scientific’ information of which I didn’t have the slightest clue. What’s the purpose of one of these organisms shown in a framed picture? What does it consist of, how does it function? I felt I couldn’t understand the narrative behind the representation, and that this left me unhappy, unlike my biologist friend. Had we seen these pictures in a science museum, with explanations next to the images, I would have felt better: I could try to understand. But no, not here. Then suddenly it struck me: being art students, we constantly talk about art, we recognize the rhetorics, hell we’re even beginning to use it. When we go to a museum, we understand the context. But for people who have no background in art, it can be difficult to grasp all its aspects (also because in my opinion a lot of artists can deliberately stay a bit vague). Walking in the Beauty in Science exhibition, I felt for the first time like I imagine Henk en Ingrid could feel about museums: “I don’t understand what you’re showing me, nor why, and you don’t give a decent explanation!”. For me, the exhibition underlined the importance of communicating the value art can have for its audience.

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