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Art Is Comic: A light response to the terrorist attacks in Brussels
Installation view.

BRUSSELS.- The MIMA’s third exhibition brings together Brecht Vandenbroucke, Mon Colonel & Spit, Brecht Evens, HuskMitNavn, Jean Jullien and Joan Cornellà. They champion a cosmopolitan idea of society by depicting human comedy through figurative works. Their influence across all brands of social media is at times colossal. On show from 23 June to 31 December 2017.

Art Is Comic
The MIMA opened on the day after the terrorist attacks in Brussels, a time of sadness and uncertainty. That is when the idea for this exhibition originated. How to respond to rampant anxiety and escalating secterianism? Humour!

Let us continue to laugh without allowing ourselves to get trapped in a moralising straitjacket. "Soyons désinvoltes, n'ayons l'air de rien" [let’s be flippant, carefree] said a song from the 1990s. This is the state of mind that inspired the exhibition’s curators’ artist selection. Each artist is unique, coming from very varied backgrounds but all of them use humour (in very different ways) in their work.

Dark humour, forced humour, satirical humour… this emotion, peculiar to man, has physical and social virtues. As education or as a call to action, it is capable of strengthening or breaking the social order. At the same time it is now even a direct target for the detractors of our cosmopolitan society. As such, it has become an effective barometer of our degree of freedom.

On the fringe of museums and galleries, social networks have become the world’s biggest exhibition spaces. They are redefining our tastes and culture. When popularity rhymes with talent on the social networks, young artists have an impact on our society never attained in the past. For instance, Jean Jullien has a community on Instagram three times larger than Jeff Koons, a world star of museums and art collections. With 4,500,000 followers on Facebook, Joan Cornellà has a greater following than the Louvre and the MoMA combined. The effect of these artists' work on a globalised world reveal the evolution of our cultural references.

The choice of artists reflects the cross-sectioning approach towards culture favoured by the MIMA. Gathered in one venue, the aesthetics and the statements shared by the artists involved overstep the boundaries of their various disparate artistic fields, amongst which feature comic art, fine art and illustration.

At a time when artists share their work on social networks, different creative fields now operate on a far more level playing field.

Brecht Vandenbroucke for example did not have to choose between the status of illustrator and visual artist: he is both at once. His work remains coherent when creating an illustration for the New York Times or a painting for the MIMA.

If the humour of “Art Is Comic” hits home with you, you will feel an antidepressant effect immediately. If moreover you laugh during the visit, your abdominal muscles will be strengthened. You can then conclude that the exhibition is excellent for your health, and we would be delighted.

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