Unit 3: MA Drawing (2014) Critical Practice Essay
In my first essay I examined aspects of how science and health issues have been communicated visually. The second essay looked at how visual humour has been used for communication. Drawing together these themes, I wanted to consider whether satire could be used in health communication. Satire involves holding up shortcomings for ridicule. As well as generating immediate humour, the ultimate aim of satire may be to drive changes in public opinion and therefore behaviour. A major component of health communication is directed at provoking behavioural change and there is a clear parallel here with satire. However, although there is an established history of medical cartoons and visual jokes, and much art addressing the experience of disease, to my knowledge there is little that could be described as satire. In this essay I have therefore looked more generally at how modern satire can be used for the communication of big ideas, with the overall aim of driving changes in public opinion & behaviour. In this essay I examine the work of George Grosz, Ralph Steadman, Banksy and Mark Wallinger who have all used drawing and visual satire as a spearhead of their practice. To examine how their practice functions, I dissect their motivation, subjects, methods, and means of dissemination, look at individual works and place their practice in the contextof art history. Common themes emerge that generate different responses, ranging from the immediate to the cerebral and involving differing genres of humour. We find a loose group of outsiders, with a common goal of making art for the purpose of holding up society to public scrutiny, again and again, until it changes.
George Grosz, Eclipse of the Sun (1926).
Ralph Steadman, Lizard Lounge (1971).
Banksy, Ikea Punk (2009).
Mark Wallinger, Sleeper (2004).