Jens Haaning (1965- ), Arabic Jokes, 1996
Haaning is among the Danish artists who had an international breakthrough in the 1990s.
The work was originally created as an art project in the public space (City Space, 1996) where the poster was used in a campaign in Copenhagen. It juxtaposes three jokes written in Arabic with a photograph of a topless pinup from a tabloid newspaper.
A typical work
The work is typical of Haaning, who often links up materials and situations that cut across conventional sociological, cultural, and ethnic boundaries.
Co-existence and exclusion/inclusion
Posted in the Vesterbro neighbourhood of Copenhagen the poster directly approached the Arabic-speaking residents of the area. At the same time the topless woman creates a link to the many porn and sex shops in the vicinity. Haaning stages an exchange of images and texts between two different scenes, thereby pointing to issues of co-existence and exclusion/inclusion.