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Boomerang: OCAT Biennale 2021, Comedy, OCAT Museum, Shenzhen, CHINA

2021.12.19 - 2022.05.22


Artists: Duan Jianyu, Ge Yulu, Jin Ningining, Li Weiyi, Double Fly Art Center, Tala Madani, Yao Qingmei, Zhang Miao

Curators: Dong Jing, Zhou Yi

Comedy, a dramatic genre, covers a great variety of types: satire, absurdity, physical, romantic, situational, sitcom, screwball, black, deadpan, erotica, roasting, burlesque, travesty, farce, slapstick, etc. As to its style, it can be highbrow, or low, or silly, playful, witty, cheerful, ironic, self-deprecating, edgy, parodic, nonsensical, camp, whimsy, dark, fun poking, taunting, dry and prankish.

Our age is filled with comic elements. A comedy may crop a story by removing its complexity and background as a narrative and leaving what makes one laugh only. Such rushes of fragmented information force us to re-organize the logic in mind before being able to react. In this sense, the form of comedy actually makes us think as hard as we can in a flash of time.

We have evolved from being the consumer of entities to the consumer of signs, but neither way can lead us to real stuff. As algorithm confines what we see, an invisible force begins to define us as individuals, depriving us of the right to choose. Amid the absolute spree of fashion and art, ideologies are replaced by an aesthetic culture, where trendy opinions and conformity always win. Comedic treatment at the moment helps to maintain sober, and proactively express dissatisfaction or rejection. Art, the most serious means of expression in the contemporary world, is taking an increasing initiative in marrying its own performative feature with the theatricality (interaction), that underlying the comedic tradition, and elevating it to be the most prominent form of artistic expression of our time.


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