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Alec Soth in Laughing In Art

In most cases, laughter is a sign of sympathy. It is not for nothing that companies advertise with smiling and laughing people. White teeth also usually shine out at us from magazine cover pages. However, „showing your teeth“ is said to have its origins somewhere else: It was intended as a threatening gesture and as such required a healthy set of teeth in order to demonstrate strength above all else.

Today, showing teeth to each other means being part of a strong community – our smile signals openness, belonging and thus has a particular social function. In some situations, however, our laughing can also tip over. Then it is not a sympathetic laughing with others, but an aggressive laughing out at somebody, as a consequence of which we feel excluded or even humiliated.

The exhibition „Laughter – what happens when we are happy“ will focus on some of the most striking features of laughter. Because not all laughter is the same. We already notice this in the different gradations and expressions: First softly, then louder and louder, it gurgles, splutters, giggles, cackles, bursts out of us, sometimes even until we can no longer hold on to ourselves and literally „laugh our heads off“.

The artists in the exhibition pick up on these different facets and sometimes confront us with the question of how much humour we actually ascribe to ourselves: How ironic, mocking or even humorous are we?