Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness

Hayward Touring’s latest Curatorial Open exhibition explores the nature of visual awkwardness through the work of artists and architects.

Shonky is a slang term meaning corrupt or bent, shoddy or unreliable, standing here for a particular type of visual aesthetic that is hand-made, deliberately clumsy and lo-fi, against the slick production values of much contemporary art.

The exhibition proposes a more celebratory definition of ‘shonkiness’ and showing how it can be used for critical purposes in the visual arts to explore issues including gender, identity, beauty and the body. By drawing together artists and architects whose work has not previously been exhibited together or discussed within the same context, Shonky allows for new ways of thinking that privilege shonkiness over other aesthetic forms that have dominated recent visual culture.

In a series of conceptual rooms, Shonky explores this aesthetic across a range of media including paintings, sculpture, video, architecture and performance.

Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness is curated by John Walter. It opens at the MAC in Belfast before embarking on a national tour to Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) and Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre.

Featured Artists

Arakawa and Gins; Cosima von Bonin; Niki de Saint Phalle; Benedict Drew; Justin Favela; Duggie Fields; Louise Fishman; Friedensreich Hundertwasser; Kate Lepper; Andrew Logan; Plastique Fantastique; Jacolby Satterwhite; Tim Spooner and John Walter.

exhibition tour dates

Mac, Belfast
20 October – 14 January 2018

DCA, Dundee
10 March – 27 May 2018

Bury Art Museum and Sculpture, Bury
23 June – 15 September

exhibition catalogue

Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness