Contemporary artists find themselves at the fringes of society from where they challenge the hegemonic ideas society is based upon; the seemingly unchangeable truths that make up reality. In recent years, due to cutbacks across Europe and elsewhere, the artist has been pushed to the fringes even more than before, and as a result its position and function has come under scrutiny.
From here, the connection between an artist and the archetypal character of the fool is easily made. The fool, trickster, or jester appears around the world in literature and folklore, and is one of the most persistent figures of all times. Its function is one of transgression; the perception of its behaviour as ignorant and aberrant ultimately serves to reveal hierarchies of power within the normative. Medieval court jesters are able to speak their mind in front of those in power, precisely because they are viewed as outside the norms and social bonds of everyday life.
The artists in Fools’ Bells Fall reflect on the character of the fool and the position of the artist in contemporary society. By using the tactics of the fool such as humour, deception, and cunning, they use their practice to deal with and subvert the hegemony of patriarchal-capitalist society and the positions allocated to them by that same hegemony as female, queer, precarious or otherwise marginal.
This exhibition was accompanied by a publication that can be purposed in our shop.
Made possible with the kind support of the Mondriaan Fund, the municipality of Hoorn, Arts Council of Ireland, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Noord-Holland, and Fingal Arts Office.