Playing Homage: Amusing Challenge against Concept of Arts


As is every modern art exhibition, Playing Homage in the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver makes the audience feel puzzled and question the artists’ aim, or even what their works represent. But with a little bit of information- the copy of Jenifer Papararo’s essay that the gallery prepared or in our case, the curator Jill Henderson’s explanation- the meaning of the title, Playing Homage, dawns on the audience: the artists pay tribute to another artist or the artists themselves; their works are reproduction of another artist’s work, or direct reference of themselves in their works. Therefore, their position as an artist is being questioned: are they simply copying other people’s idea, or their trying can be acceptable? Regardless of the legal copyright disputes, I find Playing Homage is quite amusing, fresh, significant and no reason to oppose it.

In Playing Homage, the artists are not just copying another artist’s work; they recreate another artist’s work in their own way and most importantly in a humorous way. There, one piece of art work supplies the audience multiple dialogues. While watching a piece of work, the audience’s interest is going back and forth from the referrer to the referred, and that is when conversations take place between the artists (both the referred and the referrer) and the audience. Then, there is humor in their sincere attitude remaking another artist’s work or referring their own body as a subject matter, and this humor or amusement is found throughout the works in Playing Homage. Thinking of art as entertainment, Playing Homage is quite a high quality, in that their humor is different from that we see in Hollywood comedies. In Playing Homage, there is cynicism, irony, satire, and strong self questioning.

Furthermore, Playing Homage is significant because the artists are making a new try. Introducing other people’s work directly in their work seems absurd when it is related to creative art works, but they bravely adopt that way, and lead the audience to change the concept of art regarding creativity. They suggest that as an artist, their subject should not be limited even if it is other artist’ work, and they successfully demonstrate it. Whatever copyright law says, their position as an artist does not seem to allow them to stop creating or trying new ideas. I like their challenge and I believe they are doing what they are supposed to do as an artist; if they hesitate making a new try due to legal issues, they are not artists anymore. So, let law makers settle the copyright matters, and artists do their work.


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