Current Exhibition


The Last Laugh

18 May - 29 June 2024

Image Source: ALICJA PAKOSZ. The Biggest Deal, 2024, oil on canvas, 85 x 120 cm.
©️ Alicja Pakosz (2024). Courtesy of the artist and PODIUM, Hong Kong
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 exhibition opens on 18 May 2024 (Sat) from 2 to 7 PM and is on view till 29 June 2024 (Sat). 

Artists
↗ Sarah Fripon
↗ Adéla Janská
↗ Min-Jia  
↗ Alicja Pakosz
↗ Rachel Youn 
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.

Sarah Fripon’s textural paintings reference the mundane imageries of daily life with a sarcastic and ironic twist. The five works featured in the exhibition comedically address hedonistic capitalism within everyday social practices; the bizarre history of how Western churches vigorously attempted to control the bodily release of air; and how the contemporary ‘cat master-human slave’ relationship may overthrow human supremacism one day. 

Throughout her artistic practice, Adéla Janská has been referencing porcelain figurines from her collection, nude photographs, and clippings from fashion magazines, painting the female subjects with glossy, silk-like textures against domestic backdrops. In her paintings, the female protagonists refuse to be scorned and regarded as the 'grotesque woman’, and await their moment to take revenge on the patriarchal scheme for their ultimate triumph.

Min-Jia’s newest series made of hand-carved vellum and graphite on paper expand their painting practice by incorporating contemporary interpretations of this oldest folklore in China, focusing on the ambiguous nature of humour about the action of passing—the in-jokes of being able to pass, the humour of artifice or failing to pass, and the jests that arise from this tension. 

Across her three new paintings, Alicja Pakosz meticulously engineers and theatrically stages her comedic punch-line addressing the housing crisis and the corresponding failed government solutions in Poland. Imagining the ordinary as common wild ducks, the works portray the reality that one constantly looks high and low for a safe place to live in the ever-changing, highly urbanised, and alienated world.  
Rachel Youn has been creating kinetic sculptures with second-hand massage devices and artificial plants, where they move in repetitive motions that evoke an aesthetic of failure, melancholia, and a sardonic sense of humour. Their awkward kinetic sculptures, which just do not stop twisting and churning throughout the exhibition, mirror the cyclic, mundane, and deteriorating lives of the exhausted viewers.

↗ Press Release
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Installation View


Installation view of ‘The Last Laugh’ at PODIUM, Hong Kong. Photo: Lok Hang Wu. Courtesy of PODIUM, Hong Kong.
Installation view of ‘The Last Laugh’ at PODIUM, Hong Kong. Photo: Lok Hang Wu. Courtesy of PODIUM, Hong Kong.
Installation view of ‘The Last Laugh’ at PODIUM, Hong Kong. Photo: Lok Hang Wu. Courtesy of PODIUM, Hong Kong.
Installation view of ‘The Last Laugh’ at PODIUM, Hong Kong. Photo: Lok Hang Wu. Courtesy of PODIUM, Hong Kong.
Installation view of ‘The Last Laugh’ at PODIUM, Hong Kong. Photo: Lok Hang Wu. Courtesy of PODIUM, Hong Kong.
Installation view of ‘The Last Laugh’ at PODIUM, Hong Kong. Photo: Lok Hang Wu. Courtesy of PODIUM, Hong Kong.
Installation view of ‘The Last Laugh’ at PODIUM, Hong Kong. Photo: Lok Hang Wu. Courtesy of PODIUM, Hong Kong.
Installation view of ‘The Last Laugh’ at PODIUM, Hong Kong. Photo: Lok Hang Wu. Courtesy of PODIUM, Hong Kong.
Installation view of ‘The Last Laugh’ at PODIUM, Hong Kong. Photo: Lok Hang Wu. Courtesy of PODIUM, Hong Kong.
Installation view of ‘The Last Laugh’ at PODIUM, Hong Kong. Photo: Lok Hang Wu. Courtesy of PODIUM, Hong Kong.
Installation view of ‘The Last Laugh’ at PODIUM, Hong Kong. Photo: Lok Hang Wu. Courtesy of PODIUM, Hong Kong.
Installation view of ‘The Last Laugh’ at PODIUM, Hong Kong. Photo: Lok Hang Wu. Courtesy of PODIUM, Hong Kong.
Installation view of ‘The Last Laugh’ at PODIUM, Hong Kong. Photo: Lok Hang Wu. Courtesy of PODIUM, Hong Kong.
Installation view of ‘The Last Laugh’ at PODIUM, Hong Kong. Photo: Lok Hang Wu. Courtesy of PODIUM, Hong Kong.


Artists

Sarah Fripon
Adéla Jánská
Min-Jia
Alicja Pakosz
Rachel Youn

PODIUM

Unit 9D, E Tat Factory Building,
4 Heung Yip Road,
Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong

Tuesday – Saturday
11:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Closed on public holidays

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