Rude Britannia, Tate Britain 2010

Rude Britannia room guide: The Absurd

Listing on the Tate website

The Oxford English Dictionary definition of ‘absurd’ reads ‘Out of harmony with reason or propriety; incongruous, unreasonable, illogical … plainly opposed to reason, and hence, ridiculous, silly’.

Much comic art since the seventeenth century could be in fact classed as absurd, involving disconcerting dislocations of scale, the humanisation of inanimate objects and animals, and baffling uselessness. Rather than adding up to a coherent British tradition of absurdist humour, the works brought together here may suggest the rich variety of absurd comic art – mixed with elements of melancholy and regret.

Harry Hill has been our guest curator in this space, and has added some of his own special touches to the installation.

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