Research trip: Ridiculous!

We went to the opening of a show called Ridiculous! The introduction says there are 18 artists who are not afraid to look stupid, that sounds exciting, we are going to see how stupid they are.

‘Ridiculous! ‘ Exhibition, Elephant West, London

The exhibition is showing at Elephant West, a combination of art space and bar, which is a very nice place. We were attracted by the delicious smell as soon as we went in, it was dinner time and there were lots of people. We can’t wait to see what kind of ridiculous show it is, but we were dead bored within ten seconds. It’s totally not what we expect to see, not funny, not stupid, not ridiculous, we thought it might relate to our kind of things, but no. We even didn’t see the artists (except the lady doing performance). It showed some works looks exaggerate and trying to say: “we are ridiculous!” but we don’t think so :/

when people ask you is it ridiculous? and you don’t know how to reply

And the press release doesn’t even mention humour, it mentions silliness and absurdity. But all the work looked so contrived it lost all silliness. The silliness was supposed to make us reflect on serious matters (“identity formation, epistemology, sexual attraction, class conflict and mental health”). It wasn’t even absurd, or it was too obvious to be absurd. Actually it was not absurd, because real absurdity, or absurdity done well, verges on the sublime. We didn’t have any sublime experience.

Perhaps the title was a) unimaginative and b) optimistically raising expectations. We were expecting humour but we found little of it. The funniest thing was they put the price list on the entrance, Dolly said.

We know that humour in art can be difficult (Refs: The artist’s joke; Art and laughter); the joke falls flat if there is no shared context etc. Perhaps the work was simply not that great. We are too disappointed to go into details and we don’t want to be critical of young emerging artist. Perhaps they needed a good crit?

For example, Jo liked ======’s approach to video performance but… The video “=======” was the closest to both being funny and raising issues but, the editing took the surprise or incongruity away. It made it almost didactic. You just couldn’t help compare it to ======, less as a reference and more as a benchmark. Jo thought that the ============= was slightly anachronistic (are ====== really like that these days?). In fact, Jo thought that even the ============= was debatable, making fun of a certain socio-economic class ======, no doubt not the kind that were in the audience anyway. So who was it targeted at?

Dolly trying hard to see the funny side

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