Underculture & History From Below

Symbolic Upturning Of Social Norms (detail). Ink, Gesso, Fineliner & Newsprint On Lining Paper. 2020.


The carnival is a world of laughter, deviance, indulgence and debauchery, where social norms and roles are upturned as peasant becomes King, man becomes woman and vice versa. Where Innocent Fools and jesters prance about with their marottes and mock swords insulting authority. Where the harlequin and the Commedia dell'arte perform witty dialogue, trickery and 'slap-stick' with music, dance, elaborate costume and duelling. Normal behaviour and official culture is suspended and the carnival presents itself as a social institution that 'uncrowns' official functions of thought, speech, and soul by translating them into the grotesque body, serving to turn society and the world inside out and upside down. A release for impulses that threaten the social order by embodying them in surreal and non-sensical acts.