About the Artists
Adam Broomberg (born 1970, Johannesburg, South Africa) and Oliver Chanarin (born 1971, London, UK) are artists living and working in London. Together they have had numerous solo exhibitions including the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw (2015); Jumex Foundation, Mexico City (2014); FotoMuseum, Antwerp (2014); Mostyn, Llandudno, UK (2014); Townhouse, Cairo (2010); Musée de l'Elysee, Lausanne (2009) and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2006). Their participation in international group shows includes the British Art Show 8 (2015-2017), Conflict, Time, Photography at Tate Modern, London and Museum Folkwang, Essen (2015); Shanghai Biennale (2014); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2014); Tate Britain (2014), Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha (2013); Gwanju Biennale (2012) and the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2011). Their work is held in major public and private collections including Tate, MoMA, Stedelijk, the V&A, the International Center of Photography, Musée de l'Élysée, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Major awards include the ICP Infinity Award (2014) for Holy Bible, and the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize (2013) for War Primer 2.
About The Work
The Folly of Comic Pain is one of a series of 22 photographs produced for Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin's ‘Rudiments’ project, a collection of works examining the mechanisms of military conflict. Referencing Francisco de Goya's print series The Follies (Los Disparates) and Hans Bellmer's The Doll (Die Puppe), the photographs are compelling satirical caricatures. The central figure of the series is the Bouffon, a social outcast whose grotesque theatrical performances make a mockery of those who hold political power. In the photographs, her choreographed gestures mimic the regimented posturing of army cadets, but in a way that is absurd and overblown. Between her playful acrobatic pose and the tumorous bulges of white fabric concealing and distorting her body, she disturbs and charms in equal part.