Bruno David presents Funny because it’s true, an exhibition by multi-disciplinary artist Lily Hollinden. This will be her first solo exhibition with the gallery. In concurrence with the exhibition, Bruno David gallery will publish a catalogue of the artist’s work with an in-depth exhibition history and bibliography.
Throughout the course of this body of work, Lily Hollinden engages in concepts surrounding the origins of life and humanity and strives to analyze the human experience from an animal lens. The underwater world, the birthplace of organic life and home to species that remain unchanged for millennia, serves as an overarching motif in her work, referencing an enduring permanence of living things. Alongside this aquatic imagery, Hollinden uses the human form, usually her own, to express the rapidly evolving and diverse experience of humanity.
She is interested in exploring the micro, in the form of the nuances of her own life, an individual organism among billions, and the macro, the lineage of mankind, and even the creatures that preceded us. Hollinden aims to draw connections between herself and her family, her lineage as a painter, her species, and this planet. How does the existence of one person, one human, fit into the vast and never-ending puzzle of life on our planet? What role does instinct, hard-wired into the human brain over the process of our evolution as animals, play in a post-survival world? Where does it help us, and where does it hinder us?
More recently in her studio practice, Hollinden has been specifically exploring the idea of humor being an integral part of the human experience. Her research includes different clowning cultures and practices, and the societal role of the comedian, particularly in the form of a protected class of truthtellers.
Through their comedy, a court jester could speak freely, and provide more brutal critique of those in power without consequences; this is known as the “jester’s privilege”. This concept of finding authenticity in the roundabout form of humor, sarcasm, and irony, has become a recurring theme in Hollinden’s paintings as she references the low-brow art movement and “chronically online” communities of the internet.
Hollinden’s work aims to find balance in extremes; the individual and the universal, current and ancient, comedy and tragedy, the learned and the instinctual, ridiculousness and sincerity. Through the creation of her paintings, she philosophizes about evolutionary psychology, human nature, and vestigial traits that we exhibit. Her studio practice facilitates a cyclical understanding of herself through exploring these concepts in her paintings. After all, there is truth in jest.