This is Not an Apricot is an exhibition that is looking at methods of humanist logic and scientific classification, which rely on the belief that knowledge is an inalienable possession of the human mind. Through this lens, the artworks aim to reveal that basic assumptions about knowledge are based on what the the Social Anthropologist, Marilyn Strathern calls, a system of ‘reflexive categories’ that unfold and perpetuate the biases, limitations, and/or prejudices of their very own historical origins.
To this end, the exhibition interrogates critically the knowledge humanity bases its critical discourse on – which often is institutionalised as the bedrock for systemic and oppressive colonialist beliefs. It follows then that our inability, as a species, to accomplish a complete break with the societal norms that allow this type of repressive culture, stemming from this bedrock, to form a pervasive violence through each subsequent generation.
Taking its name from a 2009 series of watercolors by Brazil-born conceptual artist Maria Theresa Alves, the exhibition examines the above as a historical strain of a priori knowledge, where assumptions in scientific and social classification are hardened. Working from a shared consensus, where “it matters what ideas we use to think other ideas with,” the artists of this exhibition: Keren Benbenisty, Runo Lagomarsino, Candice Lin, Pia Rönicke, Terike Haapoja and Laura Gustafsson examine, through sometimes microscopic readings, the way in which our current knowledge base and understanding of the world around us will affect our future assumptions. Avoiding didactic traps to reason through artworks, the artists’ work in the exhibition lay bare moments where potential ignorance is masked by assumptions behind human exceptionalism.
In this sense and through hinting at the consequences, misunderstandings and repercussions (of the universal applications) of western scientific and humanist thinking: the project explores a critical consciousness of when, and how, knowledge of and from the past can impede future relationships between the world and its inhabitants. Against this backdrop, works in the exhibition employ film, video, and installation by applying methods of archiving, destruction, appropriation, display, and/or narrativization in order to represent two generations of conceptual critical approaches to the crumbling discourses of knowledge, which objectify scientific and social classification.