Laughter and pain

Adel Abdessemed, Mémoire (still), 2012

I should have known from the start that there would be more to Adel Abdessemed’s Mémoire than was apparent at first glance. After all, his work is never quite as it seems and there is almost always a degree of violence and pain somewhere in the work. But watching Mémoire, my first response was laughter. This was a baboon spelling words out on an magnetic whiteboard. Maybe if I watched long enough it would start writing Shakespeare. Isn’t that what monkeys are meant to do given time?

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Past master

Maurizio Cattelan, Bidibidobidiboo, 1996

As a rule, I don’t have much time for taxidermy in art. Sometimes it works, but for me such instances are few and far between. But if anyone can get away with it, it’s Maurizio Cattelan; contrary to my own expectation, his use of taxidermy consistently wins me round.

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