Art As Comedy
USA, UK 1975-2011 | 97 min
While it is true that the history of art is strewn with elements of humour (and smiles!), nevertheless very few of the movements of the 20th century can be vaguely associated with any sense of amusement or self-ironic tonality. PIX has chosen three distinct artistic voices to illustrate some of the diversity and sensibilities, which artists have brought to humour, and comedy has brought to art: Owen Land, a legendary, American, conceptual film-maker is presented here with his probably best known work, 'On The Marriage Broker Joke…', where he plays a clever and witty game with images and language, which the American critic, J. Hoberman considered a modern equivalent of Buñuel's 'Un chien andalou'. John Smith, an English, conceptual film/video artist, and contemporary of Land, whose works frequently use and dissect parameters of language, comedy and even one-liners with a disarming, deadpan formalism, not entirely dissimilar to that of Peter Greenaway. We present five works, representative of his style, including the legendary, and much imitated 'The Girl Chewing Gum', from 1976. Kim Noble, a young English artist, who allows his personal psychological history to inform the content of his extremely dry, deadpan and occasionally almost cynical video shorts. Here an artist, who has embraced the new social media fully, with his deceptively simple gags and artistic terrorism. And who ever heard of slapstick involving a spider!