Erik Kessels Fails It in Europe

Curator and creative director shares some of his favourite mistakes with Europe’s gallery-goers this summer
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Fabulous Failures by Erik Kessels at Le Botanique in Brussels. Image courtesy of Erik Kessels
Fabulous Failures by Erik Kessels at Le Botanique in Brussels. Image courtesy of Erik Kessels

Erik Kessels, the Dutch photo collector, curator and creative director is hardly one of life’s failures. However, Kessels does value instances of creative misadventure, especially when it’s photographed.

“What happens if we take this short-sighted view of failure and flip it on its head?” he writes in his photobook of visual snafus, Failed It! “What if we re-imagine failure as one of the surest routes to creative success, instead of the road to perdition? Perhaps the mistakes and circumstances that join forces to create failure are not your mortal enemy but are, in fact, the key elements in producing something new and exciting.”

 

Kent Rogowski, Love = love 9, 2006–08 (upper),  Love = love 3, 2006–08 (lower). From Failed It!
Kent Rogowski, Love = love 9, 2006–08 (upper), Love = love 3, 2006–08 (lower). From Failed It!

For Kessels, failure avoidance leads to mediocrity, while mistake making often shows us “that right can be wrong, bad can be good and, when everything tells you to turn right, you might be better served by turning left.”

 

Cactus action, image courtesy of Erik Kessels. From Failed It!
Cactus action, image courtesy of Erik Kessels. From Failed It!
 

Now Erik is sharing a few of his favourite failures in not one, but two galleries in continental Europe this summer. Turin’s Fflag gallery and Brussels’ Le Botanique exhibition space are both hosting Kessels’ exhibition Fabulous Failures: The Art of Embracing Serendipity and Mistakes. Look out for bad jigsaw solutions, dopey camera angles, and messed-up amateur snaps that, despite it all, look better than most million dollar ad campaigns.

Fflag’s exhibition is on until 30 July, while Le Botanique’s show runs until 20 August; for more on the wonder of the blunder, get a copy of Failed It! here.

 

Erik Kessels at last year's Photo London
Erik Kessels at last year's Photo London
 


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