Strangely Comedic Forms of Artistry (Olaf Breuning)

A few days ago I wrote about Demetri Martin, a sarcastic comedian who bases his jokes on drawings. After discovering Martin, I decided to learn more about the illusive relationship between art and comedy. Trust me, what I found was far from disappointing. What I have for you today is slightly off-the-wall. Some may say that it borders on inappropriate. Needless to say, I am taking my chances. If you have an open mind and a biting sense of humor, you will want to read on for a brief introduction to Olaf Breuning.

Breuning is a Swiss multi-media artist, who incorporates pop culture references into his otherwise nonsensical artwork. Among his many influences are bands such as Talking Heads and the Eurythmics, as well as photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank, and sculptors such as Jeff Koons. Nearly impossible to comprehend, Breuning’s pieces feature recurring vocabulary, face painting, eyeballs attached to inanimate objects, cheap wigs, nudity, and direct movie allusions. Roberta Smith of the New York Times once stated, with admirable bluntness, that Breuning’s work seems to progress from “abysmal to promising.” It is precisely this idea of hidden promise that is the pseudo trademark of this unpredictable artist.

To be perfectly honest, I am not a huge fan of most of Breuning’s artwork. There are, however, some pieces that I appreciate immensely. For instance, Breuning’s homepage is a true gem. It is by far one of the silliest and most entertaining artist websites that I’ve come across. And trust me, that is saying a lot. If you are ever in the mood for some chuckles and fantasia, please do check out Bruening’s space on the interweb. He hands you a free ticket to another universe that you will find bizarre yet strangely inviting. 

As you may have gathered, Breuning is all about relentlessly enthusiastic production. In other words, he enlightens through energy, not through reflection. To learn more about Breuning and his techniques, I suggest a quick glance at these great books that feature his artwork: Queen Mary and Ugly.

About the author

Yolanda Muchnik is the Founder of Aliveasart. A working professional with a passion for the visual and performing arts, she's got a soft spot for all things creative. In addition to ten years of formal dance training, Yolanda has experience as a graphic artist, a management and strategy consultant, and digital marketer.

  • Chasing Silver and Light
    Chasing Silver and Light
  • Five Music Videos That Will Make You Wonder
    Five Music Videos That Will Make You Wonder
  • A Dynamic Duo: Art and Music
    A Dynamic Duo: Art and Music
  • Big Words for a Vandal (Roadsworth)
    Big Words for a Vandal (Roadsworth)