Sadie Coles presents the master of appropriation Richard Prince, ‘Cartoon Over Cartoon’ is a reprisal of the artist’s work with jokes and cartoons via collage and the re-contextualisation of the nude in painting. As well as the artist’s infamy gained via the appropriation of images, and Prince’s creation of ‘Re-photography’, the artist has spent a career appropriating text; this also includes the use of jokes. According to Prince the art of the joke is ‘in the re-telling’.
Prince re-contextualises the joke, juxtaposing it with lewd cartoon nudes; highlighting the inauthenticity of the image, much like the artist’s Re-photographed works from advertising, ‘Re-cropped’, perspectives subtly shifted. Returning to the shallowness, vacuity, and light-hearted aspect of the ‘Re-photographed’ advertising image. There is a sense of potential self-recognition when reading the punchline of an original gag, which cannot be found in the re-authored joke. The artist always obfuscates his own identity, Prince is never present, the artist is not the author of the joke.
“Prince is re-telling; the joke is not his, the viewpoint is found, the voice on stage is not his own. Yet the viewer/reader may recognise something of themselves in the appropriated comic perspective. Often the nature of Prince’s appropriated jokes are to reduce the identity of the reader. They are a deconstruction of the primary identity of the reader/viewer. This is Prince’s non-identity attempting to defuse the reader/viewer’s identity with an alienating joke” – Paul Black.
“Richard collected some nudist cartoons by this guy John Dempsey. He inked jetted them up and drew a kind of hippie drawing over the collected cartoon… kind of like his hippie drawings that he did back in the late eighties. He turned the nudist cartoon into something about free love. Richard always wanted to be part of a commune, but knew that kind of utopia would never work out. At least that is what he figured. It was a good idea, the commune… but in the end…he ended up painting the commune” – Joan Katz.
About the artist:
Richard Prince (born 1949) is an American painter and photographer. Prince began copying other photographer’s work in 1975. The artist’s appropriated image, Untitled (Cowboy), a ‘Re-photographing’ of a photograph taken originally by Sam Abell and appropriated from a cigarette advertisement, was sold at auction at Christie’s New York in 2005, the work was the first ‘Re-photograph’ to raise more than $1 million.
Richard Prince: Cartoon Over Cartoon – Sadie Coles HQ Kingly St London – until 18 June 2016