Date: 03-Mar-2006 – 02-Apr-2006
Location: Contemporary Art Tasmania
The work of five emerging artists collides and collapses into a power-fraught orgy, one where the spectator threatens to dissolve in a puddle of their own impotence or embarrassment at this onslaught of youthful energy and sexual potency.
Corrupting Youth explores moral and aesthetic boundaries, focusing on the psychological ambivalence provoked by the disturbingly beautiful. The artists in Corrupting Youth are not setting out to offend simply for its own sake, but rather their works invite us to reflect upon the complex and contradicting plurality of contemporary culture.
This exhibition was the outcome of the 2006 CAST Curatorial Mentorship Program.
Corrupting Youth takes its title from the crime that saw Socrates sentenced to death by hemlock. The charge was brought against the philosopher by a nervous Athenian democracy that recognised the power of ideas to change what the rising generation might believe in – and how they might act.
Socrates lived a life by example, inquiring after wisdom – maintaining that the unexamined life is not worth living. His daily occupation was adversarial public conversation with anyone who was willing to argue with him. His approach had the somewhat annoying tendency of highlighting the contradictions, inconsistencies and slippages of logic in the moral framework of his conversationalists, and hence the society they lived in.
That Socrates subverted morality was probably the sincere belief of those who identified morality with inoffensiveness in conduct and deference to authority. In truth, however, he was simply encouraging people to think for themselves.
With this in mind, the five artists of Corrupting Youth exhibit works that highlight moral and aesthetic inconsistencies in contemporary culture and art. They are at once the youth that is corrupted by modern society, and the youth who are engaged in corrupting the media, forms and motifs of contemporary art.
Corrupting Youth asserts that contemporary art does not need to please everyone. In exploring the moral and aesthetic boundaries of society, it is likely that artists from time to time cause offence. The artists in Corrupting Youth are not setting out to offend simply for its own sake. Rather, their works invite us to reflect upon the complex and contradicting plurality of contemporary culture.