The Use of Humour in the Visual Arts

Michalis G. Kallimopoulos

Source: Catalogue of the exhibition Middle Age, Middle Class in a Middle Society Dance" / "Ploes XVII", Kydoniefs Foundatio


In difficult times, the medium of art has been able to rise to its role as a part of the social fantasy in a variety of ways. The kind of art which wants to give expression to society and the present day has to face difficult issues and very great differences in the degree of sensitisation of the public.

The visual arts can then make use of an indirect method - humour - borrowing features from the related field of political cartoons.

Greek political cartoons from as early as the mid nineteenth century matched meaning with image, and so educated, by art, the bourgeois and the working class. Their unique language operated with the ephemeral as a spearhead. What it lost in longevity, it counterbalanced with intensity. The topical work of art which expresses itself through humour may have a fleeting conceptual content, but it is easily digested and, in the end, accessible.

(The text appears in the "Middle Age, Middle Class in a Middle Society Dance" catalogue. An exhibition at the "Ploes XVII" of the Kydoniefs Foundation).

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