VBKÖ – Vereinigung bildender Künstlerinnen Österreichs


Failure to Function


09–26 July 2020
Friday & Saturday 14:00-18:00 or by appointment
Opening: 08 July 2020, 18:00–21:00

Albin Bergström
Tyler Matthew Oyer
Iris Smeds

Curated by Johanna Thorell

“Failure to function” is a diagnosis describing a person who fails to cope with social norms or has a maladaptive behavior. However, what is seen as a “failure” is always relative to a set of expectations and defined from the perspective of what is considered “normal”. The question that arises is whether failing to fulfill a norm necessarily is a failure or if it instead might be the norms that fail to encompass certain needs, desires, and ways of being? Failure can be thought of both as an active choice and as an unwilling state of being. In either case, breaking with normative expectations produces a glitch in the system through which the system itself and its underlying norms can become visible. What was initially seen as a failure turns into a productive moment that might transform the terms. The inability to fit into the designs that regulate our everyday lives might ultimately point to how these designs fail to function. 

The exhibition Failure to Function revolves around forms of dysfunctionality, maladjustment, and backwardness. The works by Albin Bergström, Tyler Matthew Oyer, and Iris Smeds bring together a number of figures that in their own ways deal with deviation from norms and societal expectations. Failing to function – deliberately or not – appears as a disruptive force that calls our habitual ways of being, perceiving, and acting into question.



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