fine print

An Introduction to Humour & Parody

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What's so funny, then? A well-worn mechanism relied upon to approach and tackle life's biggest issues, humour is a great equaliser. 'Comedy is not the opposite of seriousness', as David Shrigley has said, but it can certainly be a welcome relief, an antidote to an (art) world that can take itself very seriously at times.

Humour is also deceptively powerful. Used wisely, it can ridicule the status quo or illuminate the absurdity and feeling buried in the everyday. It has the ability to destabilise our reactions; funny art can be so loaded with acute irony or deadpan expressions of horror and grief that at times we can be unsure if it is okay to laugh. It can be ironic and distant and irreverent and subversive. It can cross cultural divides or it can spotlight them.

Humour, and its parallel strategy parody, is elusive in execution and examination. But when it works, in practice and writing, it can reveal many of the complexities and layers of meaning that contemporary art hopes to address. Funny deserves to be taken seriously.

In fine print’s eleventh issue, an array of artists, arts writers, academics and authors give humour their time; Melanie Bakewell (SA), Peter Ellis (SA), Julie Koh (NSW), Jenna Pippett (SA), Andrew Purvis (SA), Alice Dolling (LAO), Alaska Young (SA), Kathleen Linn (NSW) and Logan Macdonald (SA) & Roy Ananda (SA).