Thursday, January 18, 2007

"All About Laughter: Humor in Contemporary Art" 27.01-06.05 Mori Art Museum, Tokyo

We all tend to submit to the whims of the world that surrounds us, and in particular to the so-called “powers that be.” Yet we also share an utter fascination with the invisible powers of nature and science, with the unfathomable nature of our sensations and emotions, and with the notion of creating something that is new. One of the roles of contemporary art is to bring these attractive yet inexplicable phenomena to our attention, enabling us to experience or visualize them directly. Sometimes art might point out new ways of looking at our world, or new approaches for ascertaining otherwise elusive truths. If contemporary art is sometimes disquieting, it is because it shows us things that we usually can not see - things hidden beneath the surface, things outside the bounds of convention or acceptability.
When considered this way, art plays a similar role to that of the jokes, parody, satire, irony and absurdity that make us laugh. Laughter defuses tension, and humor challenges the "straight" view of things by undermining the "common sense" or conservative tendencies of the “powers that be.” Humor is highly personal and subjective, often pushing up against the limits of our private “comfort zones.” This exhibition explores the laughter that plays a supporting role in art, throwing light on the messages conveyed through humor in each of the exhibits. Here a completely new world awaits the visitor - the world revealed when laughter is enlisted to loosen the constraints on our sensibility and make us more receptive to new experiences.

Comprising four parts, and including works that make us laugh in addition to works that make us think about laughing, "All About Laughter: Humor in Contemporary Art" brings together over 200 videos, photographs, installations and other works by 50 creators of contemporary art from around the world.


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