How does the Co-existence of Humour and Violence in Contemporary Visual Art indicate the Presence of Attributes of Janus?
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The ancient Roman god Janus was a god of war, of the sky, and of time. The persistence of his double-faced (sometimes described as double-headed) image, and the accompanying religion and myth, validate a human need for the expression of dualism. This expression of dualism as Janus bifrons is evidenced in functional sculptures and other art works from antiquity until now, and this exegesis explores its ancient religious beginnings through to its secular manifestations. Further, the research undertaken within the studio practice and theory presented here aims to identify attributes of the ancient Janus within contemporary art where forms of humour and violence co-exist. The research posits the possibility of acknowledging dualisms as Janus or Janusian, the representation of humour as a balance to violence in contemporary art. The exegesis explores and illustrates the studio processes in relation to personal and socio-political experiences, among the resultant works of art the representational and abstract collages, which clearly show the co-existence of humour and violence in an elucidation of creative processes relating to the Janusian. The Janus attributes of time past and future, and of war, are here more obvious than those attributes of the cosmos, the templum, boundaries, and other earthly attributes, such as agriculture. In representation of death we acknowledge life, in representation of life we acknowledge death; this is Janus as god of inception and closure represented in both humour and in violence in contemporary art.
Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Doctor of Visual Arts (DVA)
Queensland College of Art
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Janus (God of war)
Dualism in art
Humour and violence in art