For as long as the internet has existed, it seems Joan Cornella’s colourful cartoons have been dismembering and immolating bodies to give us the comic relief dealing with the modern world requires.
Now for the first time, London is hosting a solo exhibition of Joan’s work. (It’s pronounced Jo-an, kind of like Joanne btw.)
So far over 10,000 people have visited the exhibition at Hoxton Arches in the heart of hipsterland, and while his press guy tells me they’ve got the highest quality of hipsters visiting, not much has sold.
The smaller works sell for £5,000 while the largest pieces fetch upwards of £15,000!
Joan told UNILAD:
The exhibition is going very well. I have the feeling that my work fits easily here because irony or politically incorrect have a greater acceptance than elsewhere.
Traditionally British satire has enjoyed good health and black humour seems commonplace here.
Joan believes it wasn’t coincidence that his meteoric rise came at the same time social media started impacting everybody’s lives, and he would often share his art with his own circle of friends and work with the feedback.
From writing longer comics, Joan adapted for social media, a medium which ‘require immediate consumption’. He says ‘in reality it’s not that different from the press strips or things like Snoopy’.
Around the gallery people are laughing out loud at the scenes of seemingly innocent people falling into situations that raise questions about death, police brutality and child abuse – to keep the list short. It’s reassuring to see others sharing the sick sense of humour you are always worried is darker than most.
Joan says his work is not just a reflection of his personality but the world around him:
Violence is inherent to the human being and it is only necessary to open the newspaper every morning to be scandalised by what the human being is capable of.
I think it is important to point out that it is not necessary to draw simplistic conclusions as my work laughs at minorities.
In them all evil and absurdity is usually perpetrated by a white man with a tie, so interpretations could go another way.
While outrage is a common currency online, Joan says he’s had to deal with the moral guardianship of social media:
Social networks often censor my work, especially Facebook, which takes special care of penises and woman’s nipples.
It is something like what religious institutions do, so we could say that Mark Zuckerberg pretends to be something like the cyber pope.
We only pray the internet stays as honest – and dark – as Joan Cornella.
Joan Cornella: A London Solo Exhibition runs at the Hoxton Arches until Sunday October 1 – £5 entry.
Tim Horner is a sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated with a BA Journalism from University College Falmouth before most his colleagues were born. A previous editor of adult mags, he now enjoys bringing the tone down in the viral news sector.