Tuesday, February 5, 2013

"Sic Transit Gloria Mundi": Industry of the Ordinary

 "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi" is the thought provoking, sometimes shocking and always engaging art exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center created by the collaborative art team, Industry of the Ordinary. Industry of the Ordinary (made up of artists Adam Brooks and Mathew Wilson) is a unique art duo whose mission and vision is to push the boundaries art and to question the ideas of elitism versus the everyday or the ordinary. "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi" which loosely translates to "Thus Passes the Glory of the World", beautifully accomplishes the goals set out by IOTO using multi-media and performative pieces as a tool for destroying the line between art and everyday life. This exhibit uses music, sculpture, print, type and photography amongst other mediums to highlight both the fantastic qualities of the artwork with everyday objects and themes. At the entrance of the exhibit is an immense sculptural piece featuring a tower of brightly colored blocks standing on a bright red carpet that ascends up the back wall of the exhibit. Though the sculpture is massive and eye-catching, the shapes and colors are simple, sticking to black, reds and blues reminiscent of De Stijl; an incredible juxtaposition of the massive form versus the simplistic themes. Another piece, a striking photograph of the members of IOTO playing a game of table football against the backdrop of a dramatic wave on Chicago's North Avenue Beach, exemplifying the mundanity of table top football next to the power and wonder of Lake Michigan. There is an overwhelming room further along in the exhibit featuring simple portrait photographs of average people, household objects, toys and TV screens covering the floor and walls of the entire room, overpowering the viewer with what is commonplace.

"Sic Transit Gloria Mundi" is an interesting and informative study on the average existence of an everyday person and their interaction with exceptional, beautiful art. One of the projects in the exhibit was a wall of photographs taken by visitors to the exhibit with paper bags that had the words "I want to be Ordinary" printed on the front. To me this wall of photos was the most striking of all the pieces in the exhibit because it showcases these simple , bland words amongst a group of vastly different people who were anything but ordinary. The exhibit was an excellent insight into the world around us; how we can find customary order in a massive sculpture and find uniqueness and beauty in simple portraits of people holding the same paper bag. "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi" questions much, and leaves it's viewers with a varying amount of answers and some insight into art and the conventional world.

"Sic Transit Gloria Mundi" will be up until February 17th, 2013 at the Chicago Cultural Center. You can find out more about Industry of the Ordinary and the artists involved here

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