A couple of years ago, the face of a clown was associated with fast food and horror movies but now the image is primarily reminiscent of an unsophisticated Telegram sticker. It combines sarcasm, playfulness, enjoyment and death. The sticker whose lineage goes back to pictograms and emoji exists separately from the standard literary language, but it fits perfectly into the culture of everyday communication, into our online speech, into that optic through which people now observe the world. And it doesn't need a verbal equivalent, there's no point in trying to articulate or explain it. It lives in its immense wholeness.
The painting The Ricotta Eaters (1585) by Vincenzo Campi, a northern Italian painter of the Cinquecento period (Late Renaissance), shows four figures eating a round piece of cheese which is shaped like a skull. The artist himself named the work Buffonaria, so that each of the characters on his canvas refers to specific characters in the Commedia dell'arte (comedy of masks). The author himself is shown as Pantalon in a red suit, and among the four figures we can recognise the ancient Greek philosopher Democritus, who mocked the absurdity and vanity of human life. Like the four figures in Campi's painting, the exhibition features four artists whose practices are based on themes of acting, clowning, laughter culture and theatre.
— Sergey Guskov, Slava Nesterov