G.R.A.M. (Gunther Holler-Schuster, Martin Behr)

Innocent anarchists

Innocent anarchists is a loose collection of scenes taken from Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy’s movies. Above all, the images are very dynamic and they present the course of events in a very expressive way.

The aim of the work is to set a new direction for the obvious meaning of the obvious stage (familiar images of culture). Clumsiness, little catastrophes, and accidents are so characteristic for slapstick type of comedy and Stan and Olivier became a symbol of it all.

One crucial sociological element is contained in here. Actually, all the events end up well for both protagonists. Comedians introduce chaos to a given situation until the fuss can only be dealt with by a whole new beginning – innocent anarchists. The fact that the series incorporates characters other than the original two (Stan and Oliver) means that the images are universal and not bound by time. Images and histories emerging in the minds of spectators are an important part of such reflections. Questions arise: Why are they both lying on the kitchen floor and getting banged? Why did the cake land on the face of one of the characters? What went wrong?

Unlike in the world of images of documentary performance art, it is possible to shift the context here – Stan and Oli may, for instance, become an extension of another image, which contains a lot of information (a cake). We should not forget a totally unconscious aspect of the slapstick comedy in multiple forms of performance art. The Innocent anarchists series is both a collection of well-known movie shots with various characters, and a documentation of fictional performance art.