The act of laughing occurs in liminal situations. It both emerges from and generates them. Disrupting the order of the known, laughing can lead established structures into anarchic crises and evoke subversion. Laughing is physical, psychological and social. Oscillating between contradictions, it veers from one state of being to another. In this, laughing functions through uncannily merging opposites. It is communicative while also interrupting communication. An expression of loss of control, laughing is at the same time a way to reassert control over an unsettled situation. Pleasurable and disturbing, laughing both results from emotions and triggers strong emotions.
Laughing sets in when language dries up. Its definition slips away from the definite. In a manner similar to contemporary art, laughing attempts to free itself from the social rules and conventions that are the backdrop against which it happens. When we laugh, are we in a zone of autonomy similar to that accorded to art? If so, to what extent does this suggested promise of freedom in laughters realm restrict its potency? Antonia Baehr, Iman Issa, Stefan Klampfer, Sophia Mairer and Roee Rosen confront laughings ambivalences with those inherent in their respective mediadrawing, painting, performance, photography, sculpture, sound and video.
Created especially for the exhibition, Stefan Klampfers photographs and sculptures are permeable to other media, opening up an abstract and figurative in-between zone that, in a nonchalant manner, disorient image orientation. The paintings of Sophia Mairer, also produced for LACHEN, anarchically respond to existing architectonic elements within the TAXISPALAIS
. One painting infects the other as they swing around golden poles, group together, flirt with the floor, or nest within window frames. In her collection of scores and sound recordings of laughter, as well as in her video works, Antonia Baehr examines laughings corporeal and auditory dimensions. Her works ask: What possibilities are there for making notations of the sound of laughter? What symphony is created when individual articulations of laughter are embodied and appropriated by others? What sonic and physical variations in laughter arise when the artist laughs for an entire day? In Iman Issas displays, also created especially for the exhibition, the normative conventions of museum display, preservation, and perception are invoked. Incongruencies between the related texts and objects, as well as the recollected and the visible, queer the established rules, enabling the uncontrollable surplus within them to emerge. In Roee Rosens video, which references stand-up comedy acts familiar from late-night TV talk shows, laughing appears as a dysfunctional act; a way of dealing with the disturbing and the forbidden. But what happens when this coping mechanism fails?
The exhibition LACHEN (LAUGHING) is the last chapter of a trilogy on everyday practices possessing a utopian dimension: the series began in 2018 with the exhibitions LIEBEN (LOVING) and SEX.
Curated by Nina Tabassomi