Hayward Gallery
exhibition

Laughing in a Foreign Language

Laughing in a Foreign Language, 25 January – 13 April 2008, Hayward Gallery.Focusing on the role of humour in contemporary art, Laughing in a Foreign Language brought together more than 70 works, including videos, drawings, photographs and interactive installations, by more than 30 artists from the Far East, Middle East, Eastern and Western Europe, North and Central America, Africa and Australia.

In a time of increasing globalisation, this international exhibition questioned whether humour can only be appreciated by people with similar cultural, political or historical backgrounds and memories, or whether laughter can act as a catalyst for understanding the unfamiliar and unknown.

Laughing in a Foreign Language investigated the whole spectrum of humour from many different points of view, taking in jokes and gags to slapstick, irony, wit and satire. Works addressed both the personal and the political. 

Though it contained gags and gags-within-gags, the exhibition was not about jokes; the humour was not always laugh-out-loud and often stepped in and out of the ambiguous area around the funny, the sad and the serious. These and other strands ran throughout the show, twisting and intertwining, inviting us to retrace our steps to look for allusions and connections missed the first time round.

Artists included: Makoto Aida, Kutlug Ataman, Azorro, Guy Ben-Ner, John Bock, Candice Breitz, Olaf Breuning, Cao Fei, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Marcus Coates, Harry Dodge and Stanya Khan, Doug Fishbone, Ghazel, Gimhongsok, Matthew Griffin, Nina Jan Beier and Marie Jan Lund, Taiyo Kimura, Peter Land, Janne Lehtinen, Kalup Linzy, Yoshua Okon, Ugo Rondinone, Julian Rosefeldt, Shimabuku, David Shrigley, Nedko Solakov, Barthélémy Toguo, Roi Vaara, Martin Walde and Jun Yang.

The exhibition was accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue featuring essays by curator Mami Kataoka and Simon Critchley, Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research, New York.

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Focusing on the role of humour in contemporary art, Laughing in a Foreign Language brought together more than 70 works, including videos, drawings, photographs and interactive installations, by more than 30 artists from the Far East, Middle East, Eastern and Western Europe, North and Central America, Africa and Australia.

In a time of increasing globalisation, this international exhibition questioned whether humour can only be appreciated by people with similar cultural, political or historical backgrounds and memories, or whether laughter can act as a catalyst for understanding the unfamiliar and unknown.

Laughing in a Foreign Language investigated the whole spectrum of humour from many different points of view, taking in jokes and gags to slapstick, irony, wit and satire. Works addressed both the personal and the political. 

Though it contained gags and gags-within-gags, the exhibition was not about jokes; the humour was not always laugh-out-loud and often stepped in and out of the ambiguous area around the funny, the sad and the serious. These and other strands ran throughout the show, twisting and intertwining, inviting us to retrace our steps to look for allusions and connections missed the first time round.

Artists included: Makoto Aida, Kutlug Ataman, Azorro, Guy Ben-Ner, John Bock, Candice Breitz, Olaf Breuning, Cao Fei, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Marcus Coates, Harry Dodge and Stanya Khan, Doug Fishbone, Ghazel, Gimhongsok, Matthew Griffin, Nina Jan Beier and Marie Jan Lund, Taiyo Kimura, Peter Land, Janne Lehtinen, Kalup Linzy, Yoshua Okon, Ugo Rondinone, Julian Rosefeldt, Shimabuku, David Shrigley, Nedko Solakov, Barthélémy Toguo, Roi Vaara, Martin Walde and Jun Yang.

The exhibition was accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue featuring essays by curator Mami Kataoka and Simon Critchley, Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research, New York.

Giant Donkey and Bear Puppets by artist, Gimhonsok at Laughing in a Foreign Language Exhibition Hayward Gallery

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