Taking its title from the name of a street, the exhibition plays on its double meaning. Apart from its connection with laughter, a “ha-ha” also refers to a type of sunken boundary: a wall or fence set into a trench, forming a hidden division in a landscape whilst preserving the scenic view. This invisible frontier serves as a neat metaphor for our relationship to the world of laughter.
Strangely indistinguishable from the familiar terrain of normality, a joke transports us to a place where sense breaks down, where the familiar is turned on its head, where the ordinary becomes extraordinary, and where the world means differently. Nothing has changed and yet everything has changed. This is the paradoxical condition of humour, and the source of its disruptive power. The show explores what it means to step over this barrier and to set foot into the inexplicable and illogical world of humour. The selected artworks demonstrate how acts of absurdity, irrationality or playfulness can interrupt reality and momentarily destabilise common assumptions.
The strategies used by the artists in Ha Ha Road, serve to illustrate the liberating freedom of thought at work in humour. They invite us to look at the world from the other side of the fence. Ha Ha Road is curated by Dave Ball and Sophie Springer. The exhibition was produced as a touring group show by QUAD, Derby, in collaboration with MOSTYN, Llandudno.
Image: Dan Witz, Prank, 2005 (detail)