Absurdity as a Strategic Tool in Art Practice
Absurdity is everywhere in contemporary art. Artists continually produce “absurd” artworks, curators routinely celebrate “absurdity” as a quality, and critics too regularly point to its presence (without, it seems, being able to take their analysis any further). The problem is that nobody seems to know exactly what absurdity is or what absurdity does – outside of an intuitive sense that it has something to do with ridiculousness, and perhaps also existential philosophy. There has been almost no sustained analysis of what absurdity means and how it is used in contemporary visual art. With this in mind, my research looks at how and why absurdity can be productively used in art practice as a strategic tool, specifically in addressing serious topics in the real world. My own practice drives the research, situating itself within contemporary theoretical work on the relation between sense and nonsense, and the ways that meaning can be produced and accounted for in cultural production.