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Saâdane Afif and Paul McCarthy in Ridiculously Yours! Art, Awkwardness and Enthusiasm

15 May — 27 August 2023
Falckenberg Collection, Hamburg, Germany

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On the one hand very serious, and on the other hand extremely comical, the exhibition Ridiculously Yours?! highlights enthusiastic awkwardness in modern and contemporary art, which does not shy away from the silly or the unreasonably dumb. This enjoyable tour includes works by some 100 artists from around the world and ranges from the 18th century to the present.

In modernism since the 19th century, and in particular in the avant-garde of the early 20th century, a very specific direction can be discerned: on the one hand, bold innovations, radical negation, and astonishing aesthetic principles, and on the other hand, a special kind of laughter that forms the basis for this exhibition project. It is a laughter that is fun and at the same time undermines all conservatism, notions of morality, and avant-garde beliefs. This laughter destabilizes authority and deflates the pompous gesture and the image of the hero.

Ridiculously yours?! flirts with the humor of disaster, bad taste, camp, B movie culture, science fiction, and horror, as well as immaturity, idiocy, intuition, and of course passion—not to mention enthusiasm. It is an inspirational amusement park of silliness and enthusiastic awkwardness with works by Alfred Jarry, Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia, George Grosz, René Magritte, Giorgio de Chirico, Sturtevant, Sigmar Polke, and Martin Kippenberger, as well as numerous contemporary artists such as Paul McCarthy, Nicole Eisenman, Fischli & Weiss, Isa Genzken, Pauline Curnier-Jardin, Kiluanji Kia Henda, and Ming Wong.

During the course of this exhibition and in various locations in Hamburg, the performance Play Opposite or Ubu Roi Disseminated originally conceived by Saâdane Afif for the 6th Moscow Biennale (2015) that entailed piles of flyers distributed by volunteers. To produce the performance, Saâdane Afif availed himself of Ubu Roi, the first play in a trilogy of burlesque satires in which Alfred Jarry (1873–1907) articulates a virulent critique of the power, authority, and avarice of the bourgeoisie.

Last performance 14 July 2023 at 5:45 pm in front of Metropolis Kino.