For the occasion of the exhibition Crying until laughing/Sírás nevetésig, Trafó Gallery invited 1646 to curate a group exhibition in Budapest! The project showcased artists connected to 1646’s program, focusing on works that share similar artistic strategies, such as fictioning, complicating and the use of humour.
While humour was a common thread throughout the exhibition, the presentation unfolded its complex nuances and social potential to deal with our contemporaneity.
In our fascinating but unfortunately harsh and unfair world, it can be difficult to cope with situations or conditions that force us to confront our own and other’s vulnerability. Such situations can be overwhelming or leave us feeling powerless.
Crying until laughing/Sírás nevetésig brought together artists for whom humour is a catalyst to push beyond normative limitations and our perceived realities. These artists work with topics going from the everyday humdrum to geopolitics, from the simple embarrassment of blushing to the corporate imposed interests in our body and wellbeing, from the overwhelming pressures of social media to the burdens of what it means to ‘succeed’ in life. They touch upon complex matters that most of us deal with.
The artists gain back a sense of control by using humour not only as a coping mechanism but also as a tool to engage with the viewer. In a playful way, they seduce us to enter a mental space where known daily references become blurred, exposed or surreal. As we try to reorient ourselves, humour inebriates our perception and suddenly we find ourselves caught off guard, open to new possibilities.
The exhibition design mimicked a quality that is inherent in several of these works: the feeling that what you are looking at is both jolly and anguishing at the same time. Drawing inspiration from colour therapy, hospital architecture and fun houses, the viewer is immersed into a colourful environment. Centred around a cinema space, the audience was invited to walk in circles, either maddening or meditative circles, while the walls offered visitors beverages for relief.
Crying until laughing/Sírás nevetésig included artists: Afra Eisma, Pauline Curnier Jardin, Shana Moulton, Carmen Roca Igual, Ghita Skali, Marnix van Uum. The program of events presented artists Kasia Fudakowski and Roee Rosen, among others.