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HGW std. Mavromichali 138, Athens, Greece
29/09 - 08/10/2023
The term "cringe" has resurfaced on the internet in recent years. According to Google
Trends statistics, there has been a significant increase in searches for this term,
which has been steadily rising since 2016. "Cringe" refers to a reaction of embarrassment or social awkwardness. This feeling arises when we become aware of our own
uncomfortable actions or when we empathize, or even mock, someone else's behavior that causes us secondhand embarrassment.
The term "cringe" encompasses a wide range of emotions, making it a versatile word
to describe various incidents. However, its usage and application have been shaped
by internet communities. Not only is it widely known and used, but it has also managed to bridge divergent identities.
People of different ages, races, genders, political affiliations, and other backgrounds
find a common language of communication through "cringe" online. Similar to the
existence of figurative languages for artistic subjects, "cringe" has spawned a figurative language for artistic expression. This is evident in many contemporary works,
both digital and non-digital, and has given rise to new artistic media such as memes.
"Cringe" has become an overarching concept that encompasses a broader range of
The universality of identifying with "cringe" when faced with discomfort or socially
awkward situations could position it as a contemporary Sublime. Historically, the
Sublime has been associated with aesthetic theories heavily influenced by the social
dynamics of the time. However, does "cringe" represent a modern form of the Sublime? Has it emerged in response to a shiſt away from a prescribed aesthetic? We
currently exist in a time where collective digital languages are being created to understand a wider range of identities and where a diversity of aesthetic influences is
Considering that aesthetics today are multifaceted due to the World Wide Web and
the widespread dissemination of information, this exhibition aims to explore these
ideas. Through artworks that construct an intimate fusion of references to our digital
identity, it presents a familiar chaos that challenges viewers to organize it, while
deeply engaging with their present human identity.
Curated by: Socrates Stamatatos & Dimi Kalabo
Visual/Lighting design by: Stella Zafiriou
Graphic design: Marsunev
Produced & Hosted by: HGW STD.
Supported by: CURRENT Athens
Aram Bartholl (DE), Kristen Leo (US), Marsunev (DE), Noura Tafeche (ITA),
Bill Posters (UK) & Daniel Howe (HK/US), Aphrodite HGW (GR)