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The MUN inaugurates the collective exhibition "A joke is a serious thing", an exploration of humor as an artistic resource to appeal to reflection.

The sample exhibits pieces by 15 national and international artists from the Bergé Collection, who use humor from different perspectives to portray aspects of today's society.

FotoMuseoUniversidad de Navarra/os curators of Una broma es una cosa seria María Gallegos, Eva del Llano and Jaime Guillén, at the conference room exhibition of "Una broma es una cosa seria" at the MUN.

21 | 06 | 2023

What role does humor play in contemporary art and how do artists use it? These are some of the questions that Eva del Llano, María Gallegos and Jaime Guillén asked themselves when they studied the pieces in the Bergé Collection and found humorous and playful elements in many of them. As a result of this research arises A joke is a serious thing. Humor in art through the Bergé Collectionthe collective exhibition that this Wednesday has inaugurated the Museum University of Navarra in the conference room Tower.

The sample brings together the work of 15 national and international artists who use humor as an artistic procedure that appeals to critical reflection: Liz Arnold, Anna Barriball, Andrea Bowers, Martin Creed, Dora García, Pablo Helguera, Chris Johanson, Jaime Pitarch, Werner Reiterer, Nina Saunders, David Shrigley, Bob and Roberta Smith, Nedko Solakov, Marijke Van Warmerdam and Erwim Wurm. The proposal has been chosen among the Final Projects Master's Degree of the IV promotion of the Master's Degree in programs of study of Museum Curatorship and has the support of Fundación Palazuelo and the Government of Navarra.

"Humor is a resource that allows artists a much more immediate approach to the public, while enabling them to address issues that otherwise could not be dealt with," explain the curators, who were accompanied at presentation by Pedro Enciso, vice president of Bergé y Cía; Nieves Acedo, director of Master's Degree, Gabriel Pérez Barreiro, professor at postgraduate program and co-director of the TFM with Acedo; and María Aguilera, curator of the Bergé Foundation.




Despite resorting to very varied techniques and themes, the chosen pieces share the way in which the young curators approached them and the sensations they provoked in them: "First it was of estrangement and then of recognition, everything that humor generates. Regardless of the different ways in which it can be present in an artist's vision, the way it is received constitutes a common space. Humor first puzzles us and, thanks to that, we try to understand it. All the works closely invite the viewer to interact with them, as result of their playful and carefree aspect".


The very degree scroll is already a declaration of intentions: "A joke is a serious thing was the phrase that allowed us to reflect the contradiction we noticed in humor, which at the same time that produces a pleasant effect can be very sharp and incisive, precisely because it intrinsically carries critical distancing". In this sense, they emphasize that, "throughout the project, we realized that humor can be a destabilizing tool , which sometimes even runs the risk of offending. It is very delicate and contexts must be taken into account, but, without a doubt, its function is always to break boundaries".


About work with the Bergé Collection, they say that "it has been a luck and a privilege. It is clear grade that behind the team there is a great interest in contemporary art and emerging artists, many of them already very renowned artists today. They have given us all subject of facilities for the project to go ahead".




This project is part of the training that the students of Master's Degree receive at programs of study of Museum Curatorship. After each graduating class, the students of postgraduate program present their proposals before a panel that chooses the one that, due to its technical quality, will be the object of a exhibition within the Museum's program. The vision of the young curators, enriched by their passage through the academic program, is a good reflection of current trends in the profession.  


In the words of the curators, the postgraduate program has served them as a great financial aid to undertake this first project of curatorship: "Especially in the second semester, when we started to develop it, essential subjects such as Communication, with Lola Iglesias; Conservation Protocols, with Asunción Domeño; or Art and Space, with Javier Antón, to mention a few that gave us a direct application to our work End of Master's Degree. Undoubtedly, this project has materialized many of the teachings of Master's Degree, moving from the theoretical to the practical level. This exhibition has given us the possibility of getting to know more directly, with its lights and shadows, the exciting world of curatorship".