Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Great Stone Face

I laughed, cried and split my side while writing a text to contribute to the catalogue for I Laughed, I Cried, I Split My Side an exhibition organized and curated by Dagmara Genda for AKA artist-run centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan from 2 May to 20 June, 2014. The exhibition explores the manner in which horror and humour intersect in works by the artists Kyle Beal (Calgary), Erica Eyres (Glasgow, UK), Christine Negus (London, ON) and Shanell Papp (Lethbridge, AB).

Christine Negus, Ditto, 2013
, engraved razor blade, silver thread.

The catalogue was launched on June 19 at the Frances Morrison Central Library in Saskatoon as part of  a night of book sales, signings and readings to celebrate and launch recent exhibition catalogues and publications produced by galleries in Saskatoon, including AKA artist-run centre, BlackFlash Magazine, College Art Galleries/Kenderdine Art Gallery, Kimiwan Zine, Mendel Art Gallery, and PAVED arts.

The following is an excerpt from my essay, The Great Stone Face:

“When stand-up comics perform, they either “kill” or “die.” The use of these words in comedic shop talk reveals an antagonistic power dynamic between comedians and their audience. But the artists in the exhibition I Laughed, I Cried, I Split My Side are not your garden variety comedians. They are different, as Dagmara Genda notes in her curatorial essay. They are deadpan. The deadpan inhabits an ambivalent, ambiguous zone of the undead where the rules that distinguish between killing and dying don’t necessarily apply. As in the etymology of the word, the deadpan presents a dead “pan” or face, like Buster Keaton’s great, emotionless, stone face.”

The complete text, and more, was available for a short period of time on the AKA website as a downloadable e-text pdf. Now, in order to get a copy you will have to look for Tragedy Plus Time.

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