Hackney Downs Studios
17 Amhurst Terrace
PUBLIC Gallery is delighted to present I’M GOOD THANKS, a solo exhibition by the renowned Catalan artist Joan Cornellà. With over 7 million followers on social media, Cornellà has achieved global acclaim through his instantly recognisable mix of pitch black humour and deeply unsettling imagery.
Through a series of new works, I’M GOOD THANKS invites us to peer into Cornellà’s dystopic vision of contemporary life. Paintings line the walls, surrounding a central sculpture - the artist’s trademark suited character, hanging from a noose and smiling psychopathically whilst posing for a selfie. Each work holds a mirror up to the depraved nature of society; confronting everything from our unnatural connection to social media and masturbatory selfie culture, to political topics such as abortion, addiction and gender issues - no subject is off limits.
At first glance, Cornellà’s work seems lighthearted and playful, his figures share a generic blank smile and sickly sweet colour palette, reminiscent of 1950’s advertising or airline safety pamphlets. Cornellà then twists these saccharine settings to dissect modern culture, projecting them to the darkest, most cynical conclusion. While some are affronted by his work, many connect over it, laughing whilst simultaneously feeling bad for laughing.
“I think we all laugh at misery. We must start from the idea that when we laugh, we laugh at someone or something. With empathy or not, there is always some degree of cruelty. In spite of that, I am aware that if one of my cartoons happened in real life I would not laugh at all.”
Satire has for a long time been one of humanity’s rare beacons of introspection. Through simplistic visual language, Cornellà satirizes the sinister and often bleak side of humanity within a myriad of bizarre and surreal scenarios. Despite suffering gunshot wounds, losing limbs and experiencing gruesome accidents with alarming regularity, the characters in Cornellà’s world keep on smiling.
In sync with the growing feeling that the world is sinking further into depraved absurdity, Cornellà sheds some light onto ourselves, presenting human nature in his notoriously dark and disquieting manner.