After Laughter Comes Tears
Oct 13, 2023 – Jan 7, 2024

Stine Deja, Assembly, 2022 / Courtesy of the artist / Photo the artist

After Laughter Comes Tears is an experimental exhibition dedicated to performance, and the second edition of the Mudam Performance Season launched in 2021. Conceived as a ‘performative exhibition’, After Laughter Comes Tears will feature the work of thirty-four artists working across the mediums of performance, installation and video. Titled after the 1964 track ‘After Laughter’ by American soul singer and songwriter Wendy Rene, the exhibition unfolds in four acts, mimicking the theatrical narrative of prologue, act 1, act 2, act 3, act 4 and epilogue. By considering moving image and installation as much as the exhibition and its scenography as performative objects, After Laughter Comes Tears proposes to expand the definition of performance. Simultaneously, it grounds the medium of performance within the museum, which traditionally hosts it as an occasional and timed utterance.

 

Stine Déjà, Assembly, 2022. Sculpture and sound. Courtesy of the artist. © The artist

Sin Wai Kin, The Story Cycle, 2022 (still) / Commissioned by Somerset House, supported by the DCMS and Arts Council through the Culture Recovery Fund / Courtesy of the artist

View of the exhibition After Laughter Comes Tears 13.10.2023 –  07.01.2024, Mudam Luxembourg © Photo: Fabrizio Vatieri | Mudam Luxembourg

View of the exhibition After Laughter Comes Tears 13.10.2023 –  07.01.2024, Mudam Luxembourg © Photo: Fabrizio Vatieri | Mudam Luxembourg

Jesse Darling, Reliquary (for and after Felix Gonzalez-Torres, in loving memory), 2022 © Quentin Chevrier

The exhibition takes as its starting point the feeling of stasis and anger that defines this later stage of capitalism endorsed by most societies. It is framed by the anxieties of a generation facing a climate crisis, welfare states trampled and failed by neoliberal policies and the rise of xenophobia and far-right parties across the globe, partly fuelled by fake news spreading on- and offline. Adopting the humorous, and at times, dramatic tone that is characteristic of theatricality and embracing the ambiguity that exists between those states, After Laughter Comes Tears unfolds through a narrative that speaks to and of bodies, politics and their fraught relationship under capitalist systems. The works of emerging artists, in dialogue with more established ones, consider the crisis of care and deeply entrenched notions of normalcy, aiming to make visible and thereby question standardised approaches to social and biological norms.

 

Jacopo Miliani, Deserto, 2017 (still) © Jacopo Miliani

View of the exhibition After Laughter Comes Tears 13.10.2023 –  07.01.2024, Mudam Luxembourg © Photo: Fabrizio Vatieri | Mudam Luxembourg

View of the exhibition After Laughter Comes Tears 13.10.2023 –  07.01.2024, Mudam Luxembourg © Photo: Fabrizio Vatieri | Mudam Luxembourg

Diego Marcon, The Parents’ Room, 2021 (still) © Diego Marcon

Dorian Sari Ozhan, Look!, 2021. Video. Courtesy of Dorian Sari, Post-truth, Kunstmuseum Basel.

Is laughter the best medicine to soothe despair? Humour – and at times, cynicism – is a characteristic feature of contemporary internet culture, which uses memes and gifs as producers of a brand of humour tapping into our shared sense of sarcasm. Drawing from the ironical tone that we identify as being that of a disillusioned generation, as well as from a long history of satirical resistance, the exhibition sets a stage for play with the tensions and frictions inextricably linking comedy and tragedy. Tragicomedy is also a popular theatre genre, circling back to the roots of performance as a discipline. It evokes a sense of drama and the expression of feelings, a rollercoaster of emotions animating the body. Facial expressions and bodily reactions linked to fear, exhaustion, rage, disgust, affection and pleasure – feelings that merge and coexist within each one of us, are expressed differently according to personal and collective histories. Like humour, they are not just intuitive, individual reactions, but rather depend on social and cultural contexts.

 

Pauline Curnier, Jardin (sitll) © Pauline Curnier, Ellen de Bruijne PROJECTS, Amsterdam and ChertLüdde, Berlin

View of the exhibition After Laughter Comes Tears 13.10.2023 –  07.01.2024, Mudam Luxembourg © Photo: Fabrizio Vatieri | Mudam Luxembourg

Stine Déjà, Assembly, 2022. Sculpture and sound. Courtesy of the artist. © The artist

PRICE, I Try My Tongue (sequences). Performance view, Istituto Svizzero Milano. © Giulio Boem

Taus Makhacheva, ASMR Spa, 2018 sculptural installation by Oleksandr Kutovyi Installation and performance view at The Tetley, 2018 © Jules Lister / Courtesy of Tetley, exhibition Hold your Horses

With this in mind, After Laughter Comes Tears intends to explore how our bodies and minds react and cope with the drama we are currently living through. What is capitalism doing to them? Are self-care and self-help the only answer? What is considered healthy, who is considered beautiful? Which bodies are celebrated, which ones are made invisible? What bodies are cared for and who provides that care? How do those who have been neglected look after themselves? The artists participating in the exhibition all have an idiosyncratic way of approaching notions of care and normativity, acknowledging the body as intrinsically political and as part of the collective. They will consider the relationship between body and mind, and with benevolence as much as wittiness celebrate the abject of our flesh, embrace exhaustion and contemplate eroticism.

 

Monira Al Qadiri, Deep Float, 2017 (foreground) / Mudam Luxembourg © Photo: Fabrizio Vatieri | Mudam Luxembourg

View of the exhibition After Laughter Comes Tears 13.10.2023 –  07.01.2024, Mudam Luxembourg © Photo: Fabrizio Vatieri | Mudam Luxembourg

Ndayé Kouagou, Will you feel comfortable in my corner?, 2020. Courtesy of the artist. © Ndayé Kouagou.

Mika Rottenberg, Dough, 2005–06 (still) © Mika Rottenberg

Monira Al Qadiri, Deep Float, 2017 / Courtesy of the artist & KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin/Seoul / Photo Eric Bell

To resist a conventional approach in display, After Laughter Comes Tears creates a dynamic exhibition space, changing through time to offer a variety of experiences to the visitor. During the exhibition, the works will also be activated via performances or via an active participation of the visitors, encouraged to leave aside the passive role that is too often expected of them in cultural institutions. The public will therefore get the central part in a collective thinking process brought about by a rich public programme.

 

After Laughter Comes Tears
October 13, 2023 – January 7, 2024 / Mudam Luxembourg
Visit the exhibition page >

October 12, 2023 / Opening
Cem A., Sticker vendor comes to Mudam
Lukáš Hofmann, Long story short.
Taus Makhacheva, ASMR Spa

October 13, 2023
Taus Makhacheva, ASMR Spa

October 14, 2023 / Nuit des Musées
Taus Makhacheva, ASMR Spa
Lukáš Hofmann, Long story short.

October 29, 2023
Ndayé Kouagou, 4 dogs and a plum

November 3 + 4 + 5, 2023
Jean-Charles de Quillacq, The Stand-In

December 9 + 10, 2023
Taus Makhacheva, ASMR Spa

December 17, 2023
Anna Franceschini, JET SET

January 7, 2024
PRICE, I Try My Tongue (sequences)

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