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The Last Laugh

18 May - 29 June


PODIUM is delighted to present the group exhibition ‘The Last Laugh’, featuring works by contemporary artists Sarah Fripon, Adéla Janská, Min-Jia, Alicja Pakosz, and Rachel Youn. By proposing the notion of the ‘carnivalisation of daily life’, the five artists live and contemplate life as a joker to unleash the power of laughter as an effective means for political subversion, offering an alternative trajectory to comprehend contemporary social milieu dominated by extreme violence and polarisation.

The common response of why we laugh may seem obvious—we laugh when we perceive something funny—but the apparent answer may not be correct, at least most of the time. Going through the process of socialisation, one quickly realises that the act of laughter is far from naïve and has always been political: It is a deeply social language that can reveal, conceal, celebrate, ridicule, bond, and antagonise, enabling one to navigate complex power structures and constantly shifting paradigms. Employing laughter as a crucial device to reveal unrecorded yet not unheard storytelling, the five artists in the group exhibition, who manoeuvre the multifaceted concept of laughter to underscore various problematics of social reality, prompt the viewer to ponder the following fundamental questions concerning this ancient method of communication in a contemporary context: What and who do people laugh at, and why? Who could laugh and when? What is the attitude of those in power?

The exhibition title plays with a double entendre. It suggests that when it is no longer possible to fight externally, one can return to their final and remaining power—breath and laughter—as a last resort to struggle, rebel, and turn this world topsy-turvy. It also refers to ‘having the last laugh’, which means the satisfaction of ultimate triumph or success after being scorned or regarded as a failure. Only by imagining and believing that the world will indeed have a different future through laughter may one defeat supremacism and exploitative, hegemonic powers. After all, we laugh rather than cry to survive the most sinister evils and the worst tragedies.

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