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1 Apr - 1 May 2016

Jack Fischer / Susannah Hewlett / Kim Laughton / Milly Peck / Jack Strange / Lewk Wilmshurst
Curated by Gregory Herbert


the playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks.
“there was much good-natured banter”
synonyms: repartee, raillery, ripostes, sallies, swordplay, quips, wisecracks, crosstalk, wordplay;

exchange remarks in a good-humoured teasing way.
“the men bantered with the waitresses”
synonyms: joke, jest, pun, sally, quip;

Laughter might have once been seen as taboo in the gallery space, but the values of institutions are changing. The exchange between artist and viewer has become a playful interaction where the cultural grey areas are blurred to create new categories. Artists (or comedians) are frequently opting to make work by using strategies borrowed from stand-up comedy, television and game shows – Is this the humour renaissance, or the end of the (art) world?

“the whole idea of seriousness is awful to me, it sounds like something imposed from without, it doesn’t really imply gravity or profundity, it implies decorum, behaving yourself, and that’s what i don’t like about it.” Charles Ludlam (1998)

In this context is it possible that critically engaged work can poke fun at itself? Can an exhibition deal with seriousness and banter, together? TOP BANTZ aims to explore the paradoxes that humour and art present by engaging audiences with amusement, rather than sincerity. The exhibition will ask the questions; Can artists invest heavily in a project and yet be nonchalant? Is it possible to commit to a cause with anything other than earnestness? Does having TOP BANTZ void all critical discourse?