Queued up in four parts, a performative exhibition in Luxembourg copes with post-industrialism’s many identity crises in a chart-topper’s exuberant regis
“After Laughter Comes Tears” is like a pop song: affable, ephemeral, garish, executed with a high-production value. And like a pop song, it is in-your-face. Its curatorial frame intends to tackle how “our bodies and minds react and cope with the drama we are currently living through. What is capitalism doing to them?” The show answers by way of exhibiting thirty-four artists through a four-act setup (with prologue, epilogue, and interlude), making the ephemerality literal: Each chapter activates only specific artworks that cohabit the two big halls of Mudam, turning on screens, setting installations in motion, and spotlighting static ones.
The first, titled “Sick, sad world,” like the edgelordy tabloid show that MTV’s sitcom star Daria watched on cable, observes our state of affairs as if through her sardonic, disconsolate eyes. Isaac Lythgoe’s (*1989) glossy bronze sculpture I don’t remember anything you said to me last night (2022) imagines two Bambis calling each other. They actually fail to do so, the strands of two démodé rotary phones entwined on the ground. Cute, uncanny, sort of extra-terrestrial, the puppyish deer stand opposed as if ready to fight, hinting at how childish, alien, and polarized communication looks these days.