Exhibition: Ha Ha Road, QUAD Gallery, Derby, until October 23 2011
© Dan Witz
French installation artist Boris Achour has been known to squiggle cartoons of circle-headed women having a wee, Swiss super 8 specialist Pipilotti Rist can be seen jiggling half-naked while repeating the opening line of a Beatles number on YouTube, and Welsh self-deprecator Bedwyr Williams once put 45 of his size 13 shoes on odorous display.
Taking part alongside a rather lengthy list of illustrative artists from all over the world, their strategies epitomise why this show is certain to make you laugh, not least because “laughter buttons” dotted around the Quad allow you to summon the chuckles of Brian Blessed, Barbara Windsor, Scooby Doo and more.
Curators Dave Ball and Sophie Springer have worked with Quad to bring out the liberating qualities of humour in contemporary art – the title is named after an actual road in Woolwich, in case you were wondering – and their focus is on the inexplicable and illogical.
© Hank Schmidt in der Beek. Image: Fabian Schubert
It’s playful and witty, but perhaps more importantly demonstrates how a touch of the absurd or a microscope on the overlooked can help in the noble cause of suspending common assumptions.
Mike Marshall’s finest hour might just have been running across the Egyptian desert muttering memorised jokes in a film at Tate St Ives in 2004, so his latest adventures with nature should be a treat, and the occasionally-saucy Debbie Lawson makes tables collapse and chairs dance in warped sculptures where the imaginary seems real.
Out in the Quad Corridors and on their Digital Screens, the accompanying Comic Strip exhibition tells stories across panels, taking original works from newspapers, books and comments to comment on politics and culture.
- Open 11am-6pm (12pm-6pm Sunday). Admission free.