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[英伦广角] 【整理】2010-08-15 London Exhibition: Rude Britannia

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Art galleries aren't normally the place to go if you fancy a laugh, but an exhibition at Tate Britain is proving an exception. Rude Btitannia is a collection of comic art from the 17th century to the presenst day.

From William Hogarth's "Rake's Progress" to Margaret Thatcher's spitting image puppet, to the frankly absurd.

Tate Britain teamed up with caricaturists including Gerald Scarfe, Harry Hill, and the editors of Viz, to look at how comedy and paintings, postcards and puppies has shaped our society.

Well, British comic, I think, is in our great tradition, if you think of carrying on the films and you think of then right back to Hogarth and Gillray how they criticized the people in the elite to the leaders and  the politicians and so forth. And I think that's very healthy, really.

Artists know there's no better to encourage people to think than through laughter. And some of the methods they've used are innovative to say the least.

There's a chamber pot in the early 19th century, which gives you the chance to well, let's say, kind of comment on the tyrany of Napoleon, because  Napoleon's best feature is in the bottom of this chamber pot , so if you use it,  and you end up with,  well, defacing, let's say Napoleon.

OVer the last half century, Scarfe has helped politicians to account through his clever, but often brutal cartoons. The famously portrait Margaret Thatcher as a fang tooth pterodactyl and is enjoying the fresh meat of the coalition government.

I always draw Cameron as sort of a part of Bullingdon and an old italian the Bullingdon Club, and I draw him in the Bullingdon Club outfit always. He's got kind of a par high forehead, uhn, what a big nose really and poached egg eyes, and his jaws I think are getting lower and lower, and they're getting sort of heavier and heavier down here, he's sort of thickening up with the effect of power appointing.

As the saying goes, a picture paints thousand of words. Lucy MacDonald, Sky News.
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