Jun 18 2020 - Jun 18 2020

Survival of the Fittest


"Survival of the Fittest" refers to the Darwinian term coined by English philosopher and sociologist Herbert Spencer. It alludes to the idea that those best adjusted to their environment will be the most successful in surviving and reproducing, thus continuing their lineage. By taking this concept and seeing it through a social lens, Survival of the Fittest discusses the idiosyncrasies of social status with an emphasis on the notion of social framing. Featuring artists Augustine Chavez, Raina Rangou, and Youngil Joseph Kim.

About the Artists

With an emphasis on racial discrimination, Augustine Chavez's work depicts the experiences of immigrant workers in the United States. Inspired by the realist of the 19th and 20th century Gustave Courbet - whose work focused on depicting the lives of everyday workers and peasants. The American artist seeks to bring attention to the essential workers who are ostracized by society, despite being contributing members of the same. The ostracization of blue-collar workers is a common occurrence in many communities, the fact that is only heightened when the individuals are members of a culture other than the dominant one. These responses take shape as a result of social conditioning and negative biases, resulting in a prejudice deeply rooted in xenophobia. Chavez finds amusement in this fact, as these workers represent the legs of the United States and often take on the tasks that nobody else wants to perform. This problematic is a common occurrence within the country, a nation with a long history of chauvinistic behavior among its citizens. Furthermore, as a metaphor to the American society's dismissal of immigrant workers as unimportant individuals, Chavez's figures are presented faceless, a clever nuance of his work.
Rania Rangou’s work presents the viewer with a playful take on the conundrum that is our reality. The Greek artist uses themes of history, philosophy, science, and fiction, to create work that is as ironic as it is clever. By blending past and present in a boustrophedon move, Rangou encourages the viewer to leave behind all their notions of reality and instead traverse the amalgam of metaphors that is present in most of her work. Her inclusion in Survival of the Fittest is self-referential and in itself acts as a metaphor on the reality-bending concept that is the social frames that affect our perception of the world around us. Similar to this concept, Rangou takes aspects of reality and twists them in a way that allows herself to create her own version of that reality, a referential reality that is itself a frame through which the artist introduces her vision to the viewer.
Korean artist Youngil Joseph Kim explores the effects of capitalism in the way people live their lives in modern society. His Forgetting series acts as a journal through which the artist keeps track of the everyday truth of a city that is ever plagued by the capitalistic market economy. This capitalistic market economy shapes the city itself, which simultaneously serves as a shelter for humans to live in “harmony” with one another. Kim views this harmony as a metaphor for a lack of identity that is subjectively promoted by the media. In a world where marketing strategies seem to define every aspect of our lives, including what we should look, wear, and act like; the result is a society that follows the crowd against their own inner wishes, a society where dismissing the status quo is deprecated. Kim explores this idea while simultaneously self-reflecting on his own identity as an individual, questioning whether he has allowed himself to be influenced by what he so strongly criticizes.

Visit the Viewing Room

We are delighted to introduce Survival of the Fittest, an ironic take on the current affairs of our society. The evolution of humankind has cultivated an abundance of social challenges that are embedded within our culture. Social movements and individuals that question the status quo, use their own frames that seek to influence others for a change to occur. The Contemporary Art Modern Project will continue to bring open access to our art and artists, and full virtual tours of the shows.
  • Jun 18 2020 - Jun 18 2020

  • Andres J. Mora