The embarrassment show By Tille Lingier

This exhibition celebrates shame: an emotion everyone experiences,
and (almost) everyone tries to hide.

Each piece is based on a young artist’s embarrassing memory. These range from not being able
to blow up a balloon, to a fear of swimming, to larger concerns about family, addiction, and sex.

As well as embodying embarrassment, our show’s works are presented in a shameful way: sloppy, amateur, ill-conceived. These creatives don’t even get to hide behind a veneer of professionalism.

In this way, The Embarrassments Show’s participants dare to reveal their vulnerabilities.
Because if you’re not embarrassed about embarrassment, you’ve got nothing to fear.

Pawel Kuczynski

"Polish artist Pawel Kuczynski has worked in satirical illustration since 2004, specializing in thought-provoking images that make his audience question their everyday lives. His subjects deal with everything from social media to politics to poverty, and all have a very distinct message if you look closely enough..."

Trip and fall in public

Parties where you know hardly anyone. Play apps. Or, if they have a dog...

Envy, Enmity, Embarrassment Exhibition

"Envy, Enmity, Embarrassment" was the second in the exhibition series that focuses on new productions scheduled to take place annually in Arter's programme. The three terms brought together in the title of the exhibition are used as keywords for expressing social, cultural and political memory within contemporary artistic discourse and initiate an intellectual process resulting in the creation and production of a series of new works. The exhibition aimed to explore these three interconnected concepts that precede, follow and complete each other in a broad web of causality, in a wide perspective that incorporates diverse contexts ranging from political and social violence to the media; from careerist concerns and ambitions to gender politics; from potentialities of "friendship" and "solidarity" to "aggressive" and "destructive" drives.

CANAN, "I beg you please do not speak to me of love", 2012

Selim Birsel, "Grown In The Backyard", 2012

Embarrassment and Address Mina Cheon’s Addressing Dolls at the C.Grimaldis Gallery

Dollhouses first became popular in 17th century Western Europe. One of the most famous patrons of dollhouses at the time was Petronella Oortman of Amsterdam. If you go to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam you can see some of her collection. Painted large upon the wall of the exhibition room, in English and Dutch, you learn that Oortman spent from 20,000 to 30,000 guilders at a time on the houses and their furniture, a price which could have purchased a real house on one of Amsterdam’s canals. This information is presented as shocking, and Oortman as wasteful. This is because dolls are not real, so they cannot appreciate or be comforted by their houses. Such devotion and extravagance lavished by the living on the non-living, however beautiful the outcome may be, is embarrassing. Embarrassing because care is given to that which is considered not to deserve it — the empty husks of dolls.

Dresses for different events

In a formal event

Bump into someone you know. Say bye. Both walk in the same direction.

The command, "everyone, get into groups"

Food stuck on teeth

Think someone's smiling at you and smile back. Get closer. Realise they weren't looking at you

What are the magic ingredients for embarrassment?

Most people get embarrassed when they believe that they have drawn unwanted attention to themselves (Darwin, 1872; Leary et al., 1992). Typical examples are faux pas situations. We feel embarrassed when we lose control over our body - e.g. slipping on ice, passing wind in public - or when we make mistakes - e.g. forgetting a friend's name. However, we practically only feel embarrassed in these situations when we believe that somebody else has noted our mishap. So one of the magic ingredients is the audience, another is the fact that we believe to have made a negative impression on people that matter to us. A third magic ingredient is the violation of norms (Tangney et al., 1996). For instance, many people feel embarrassed when they receive a compliment because it violates the norm of modesty. 

Which kind of audience gets us embarrassed?

Although the audience is very central to the emotion of embarrassment, relatively little is known about who can make us blush . Most researchers believe that we are more embarrassed if we make a negative impression on people whose opinion is particularly important to us (Miller, 1996). So, for instance, a mishap in front of our boss should be more embarrassing than in front of our colleagues. However, faux pas situations are often much less embarrassing when we are with the people who matter most to us, our friends and family. Perhaps we expect our friends and family to be more forgiving? 

Research also found out that embarrassment is stronger the larger the audience is (e.g., Jackson & Latane, 1981). The fewer people notice the better. Often, however, it is not the real audience that gets us embarrassed but the possibility that people may have noticed. While an open fly may go unnoticed in a crowd of shoppers, we still feel embarrassed when we notice ourselves and imagine how many people may have seen it.

accidental exposure of intimate parts.

when you start laughing really hard and no one else is amused.

When your stomach starts to make noises in the middle of an otherwise quiet room.

Falling asleep in an inappropriate place.

Leaving the bathroom with toilet paper on your butt or shoe or really, any part of your body.

Nudity in public

That really long walk towards someone you recognize. Do you make eye contact the whole time?

Riding a lift with one other stranger

Watching a film with family when a wild sex scene appears

Walking into a lecture/packed room late