Curated Group Show – The Momentarily Absurd

14 July to 16 September 2012

Humour in Contemporary Art

A group exhibition that looks at wit in contemporary art featuring Doyle & Mallinson, Peter Kennard, Littlewhitehead, John Stezaker, Julie Cockburn, Harry Hill and others.

If you’re going to tell people the truth, be funny or they’ll kill you. (Billy Wilder)

A joke cannot exist in isolation; it needs to be supported by ideas and thoughts. Similarly contemporary art relies upon background to engender emotions and thoughts that have not been previously experienced. By using humour artists reveal the hidden structures of our ordered world. The simplest of jokes strain the fabric of our language or social structure, rendering them momentarily absurd. There is a jolt as we struggle to understand the illogical and humour is created in this shift from reality to unreality. It is a way of avoiding direct responsibility, criticising social systems from within, enabling us to escape from our normal ordered world. Through humour we can to address the taboo opening up a wider discourse to important topics.

Jokes, parody, comedy, irony, satire, black, political and nonsense: humour in art now takes many forms, but it was not always that way. A hundred years ago wit had virtually no part in high art. Then the avant-garde arrived and stirred up the status quo. Marcel Duchamp put a urinal on a pedestal and called it ‘Fountain’. The gates to humour in art were opened and the Dadaists were followed by others like the Surrealists, Fluxus and the Pop Art movements. The post-modernists went farther and appropriated, subverted and deconstructed often using pastiche, parody, irony, ironic conflict and paradox.

Humour is now firmly established in the art world and it has long been accepted that witty work can indeed be very serious. Collected together in this exhibition are a broad selection of works that all employ ingenious strategies to convey their varied messages.

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Private View: Saturday 14 & Sunday 15 July 2012 / 12 – 6pm

Momentarily Absurd Press

 

Doyle and Mallinson 2012

Doyle and Mallinson 2012

Wendy Squat III
Plastic, polystyrene, resin
120 x 180 x 120cm


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Alison Jackson 2007

Alison Jackson 2007

Queen Washing Up
Type - C Photography
45.5. x 55.5cm


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Alison Jackson 2007

Alison Jackson 2007

Mick Jagger ironing
Type - C Photography
Dimensions variable


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Phillip looks at Marilyn
C-Type Photographic Print. Artist Proof
76 x 106cm


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Glen Baxter 2005

Glen Baxter 2005

Officer McNally is called to investigate an outbreak of Surrealism on the outskirts of New Jersey
Ink and pastel on paper
57 x 74 cm


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Glen Baxter 2008

Glen Baxter 2008

'One more iambic pentameter and you're history!' explained the deputy librarian
Ink and pastel on paper
57 x 74 cm


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Harry Hill 2010

Harry Hill 2010

Battling
Oil on found board
28 x 40.5 cm


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Harry Hill 2005

Harry Hill 2005

Life is fun
Oil on found wood (framed)
54 x 34 cm


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Julie Cockburn 2011

Julie Cockburn 2011

The Astronaut
Embroidery on found photograph
25.2 x 20.3 cm


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Julie Cockburn 2010

Julie Cockburn 2010

Bird
Embroidery on found print
22 x 17.5 cm


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kennardphillipps 2007

kennardphillipps 2007

Photo Op
Pigment print on 308gm paper. Edition: 750
Paper 55 x 55cm, print 49 x 49cm


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John Stezaker 2011

John Stezaker 2011

Untitled
Edition 115/150. Signed
24.5 x 24.5 cm


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Littlewhitehead 2010

Littlewhitehead 2010

The Thing
200 year old bible, batter, resin
22 x 27 x 9 cm (approx)


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Littlewhitehead 2010

Littlewhitehead 2010

Winners (1)
Inkjet print on paper (framed), unique
62 x 51 cm


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Littlewhitehead 2010

Littlewhitehead 2010

Winners (2)
Inkjet print on paper (framed), unique
62 x 51 cm


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Littlewhitehead 2010

Littlewhitehead 2010

Winners (3)

62 x 51 cm


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Doyle and Mallinson 2011-12

Doyle and Mallinson 2011-12

No sense makes sense
Ink and gouache on paper
84 x 59 cm


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Doyle and Mallinson 2012

Doyle and Mallinson 2012

Dying is easy
Ink and gouache on paper
84 x 59 cm


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Doyle and Mallinson 2012

Doyle and Mallinson 2012

The real strong
Ink and gouache on paper
84 x 59 cm


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Doyle and Mallinson 2012

Doyle and Mallinson 2012

I never thought I was normal
Ink and gouache on paper
84 x 59 cm


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