Fernando Orellana Return home


About The Work

When I was a kid I was made to understand that standardized tests were how society measured how smart or dumb I was. Standardized tests determined my overall intelligence, whether or not I would continue to the next grade, what job I might have in the armed forces, and if I would attend college. Due to this, these tests became somewhat of a stressful subject in my life, generating a type of anxiety that I only experience when I’m faced with these tests.

That anxiety can be most closely associated with the temporary lose of all intelligence, thought, or reason; i.e. the moment during the test when the words in the questions become jumbled and twisted, removed from any practical context or logic. During the exams I would always find myself manically conscious of the time and frantically rereading if Joe was traveling faster then Jim as they simultaneously headed in separate trains to opposite sides of the country.

What I found out later in life was that I was not alone in my anxiety. Most people that have been put through these tests (which consists of almost everyone in the United States of America), has felt the same way. They all seem to get panicky and uncomfortable at the shear idea of taking a standardized exam. It is from the observation of this collective anxiety and an interest in how IQ test questions are designed and evaluated that I found the inspiration for this series of prints. The intent of the work is to put the art viewer in the situation of an exam, confronting them with a series of questions that they recognize from previous encounters.

36" x 16.6", digital prints series