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Making a mockery: exploring humour and satire in art

Félix Vallotton: Painter of Disquiet

Talk

Wednesday 10 July 2019
6.30 — 7.45pm

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Part of our

Félix Vallotton

events programme
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Steve Bell, …and Bush created democracy, 2005.

Pen, ink and watercolour on paper. First published in the Guardian on February 1st 2005. Copyright © Steve Bell 2005 – All Rights Reserved.

Join our panel including political satirist Steve Bell, artist Bedwyr Williams and artist duo John Wood and Paul Harrison as they explore humour and satire in art, discussing how it has impacted today’s contemporary art world.

Chaired by arts writer Jessica Lack, this discussion will begin with Félix Vallotton’s bitingly satirical prints and discuss how artists have used humour, satire and ridicule to convey social, political and everyday issues. Our panel, including political satirist, Steve Bell, artist Bedwyr Williams, and artist duo John Wood and Paul Harrison, will go on to question why artists turn to satire time and time again and question the boundaries between satire and political commentary.

Steve Bell has been drawing political comic strips for a living since 1977. Since 1981 he has written and drawn the If… strip for the Guardian and, since 1990 has been drawing up to four larger format political cartoons a week for the same paper. His work is unashamedly comic, but many of his cartoons are quite deliberately not funny at all. He was born in London in 1951, grew up in Slough and studied art in Middlesbrough and Leeds, qualifying as a teacher before becoming a cartoonist full time in 1977. His work has been published all over the world, and has won many awards, including the Political Cartoon of the Year in 2001, 2008 and 2013. His work has been exhibited internationally, including a retrospective exhibition of his work Steve Bell – Im Auge des Zeichners at the Wilhelm Busch Museum in Hannover, Germany, 2011, and Bell Epoque, a thirty year retrospective at the The Cartoon Museum, London, 2011. He has been awarded honorary degrees from the Universities of Teesside, Sussex, Loughborough, Leeds and Brighton.

John Wood and Paul Harrison make single-channel videos, multi-screen video installations, prints, drawings, and sculptures that elegantly fuse advanced aesthetic research with existential comedy. The artists’ spare, to-the-point works feature the actions of their own bodies, a wide variety of static and moving props, or combinations of both to illustrate the triumphs and tribulations of making art and having a life. The videos maintain a strict internal logic, with the action directly related to the duration of the work. Inside this ‘logical world’ action is allowed to happen for no apparent reason, tensions build between the environment and its inhabitant, play is encouraged and the influences on the work are intentionally mixed.

Bedwyr Williams lives and works in North Wales. Solo exhibitions include Foundation of things to Come, Fondazione Sandretto de Rebaudengo, Turin, The Gulch The Curve, Barbican Art Centre, 2016 The Starry Messenger, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, 2015, Echt Tramway, Glasgow, 2014, My Bad, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK. Recent group exhibitions include Adapt to Survive: Notes from the Future, Hayward Gallery, London, United Kingdom, 2018, The Land We Live in - The Land We Left Behind, Hauser and Wirth Somerset, 2018. Stress Field, Hubei Museum of Art, China. In 2013 he represented Wales at the Venice Biennale and was shortlisted for the Artes Mundi Prize in 2016.

Jessica Lack (chair) is a writer with a focus on modern and contemporary art. She contributes articles to all the major art magazines, and has written books about art for Tate publishing, Penguin and Thames and Hudson. Her most recent book Why Are We ‘Artists’? 100 World Art Manifestos is published as a Penguin Modern Classic.

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

Wednesday 10 July 2019

6.30 — 7.45pm

The Benjamin West Lecture Theatre, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts

£15, £9