Can humour be taken seriously within the art world? Does satire possess meaning in a meme-filled culture?
Harnessing comedy as a means of subverting hierarchies of power, UAL:LOL will step outside of the white cube and institutional structures in favour of hilarity, absurdity and a damn good laugh. Providing an antidote to the often overwhelmingly vapid artsy-speaky-air-kissy degree show cycle, this events programme provides institutional critique and evidences how hilarity can be a powerful political vehicle within the contemporary pervasion of irony.
Join our dialogue with artists, writers and thinkers who use humour in their creative practice, and ponder the power of ‘funniness’ within institutional critique and art history.
Doug Fishbone, Andy Holden, Mel Brimfield, Elise Bell, Common Culture, Joe Sweeney, Roger Sabin
22nd June, Lecture Theatre, Central Saint Martins
The afternoon kicks off with a film screening of Olivier Pagy's
'The Passenger', followed by a discussion with the following guest-speakers:
Doug Fishbone has been described as a “stand-up conceptual artist”. Fishbone’s artistic repertoire includes a creative crazy golf course at the 2015 Venice Biennale and a solo project at Dulwich Picture Gallery toying with the authenticity of Old Masters and reproductions.
Andy Holden’s practice spans meme-like paintings, revisiting a teenage art movement (‘Maximum Irony! Maximum Sincerity!’), the physics of cartoons and ornithology. Holden also has a band called Grubby Mitts, co-runs the label Lost Toy Records and an experimental galley space in Bedford called Ex-Baldessarre.
Mel Brimfield often examines a skewed histiography of art, referencing musicals to 1960s pop, Brimfield’s performative pieces personify an abandoned sculpture (He Hit Me and it Felt Like a Kiss) and caricature canonical artists such as Jackson Pollock or Vincent Van Gogh. Brimfield is currently in residence at Somerset House and has presented work at institutions such as Tate Liverpool and Whitechapel Gallery.
Elise Bell has written for the likes of Dazed, the Guardian and It’s Nice That, on topics ranging from relationship advice from Marina Ambramonvic to Anish Kapoor’s accidental massive vagina as a metaphor for Brexit. Bell was also the co-creator of Tabloid Art History (a social media platform and zine merging ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture) and edits the newsletter ‘Looking at You’ which challenges conventional art writing.
Common Culture are an artistic collaboration currently comprising of David Campbell, Mark Durden and Ian Brown. Coming together in 1996 as a response to the “ludicrous” YBA’s, Common Culture make sculptural, photographic, video and performance works which ridicule and parody celebrity culture and artistic egotism. Common Culture have exhibited across Europe, Asia and North America and were selected for Manifesta 8 in 2010.
Joe Sweeney’s artistic practice plays with British nostalgia and banal, witty observation; his humour is “a squeeze of lemon juice in a papercut” (Harriet Verney.) Graduating from Chelsea in 2013, Sweeney has since has solo exhibitions at the Cob Gallery and has collaborated with Vivienne Westwood and his own Mum. Recent works include ‘Leave a Message 4 Europe’, an interactive post-Brexit public artwork.
Chaired by Roger Sabin, author, editor and professor of popular culture at Central Saint Martins, specialising in comics and cartooning.
UAL: LOL is a live program part of the BA Culture, Criticism and Curation's 2019 Degree Show at Central Saint Martins.