Piero Steinle was born in Munich on 1959 and started his artistic career working with video after his studies on Architecture and Archeology. The documentary installation Stadt im Verborgenen (1994) and the complex and impressive video installations Die unbekannten Kathedralen (1995) and Detonation Deutschland (1996), brought him in the limelight and consequently to the his participation to group shows organized by important international institutions, amongst which the Haus der Kunst in Munich, the P.S. 1 in New York and the Tate Modern in London.
In association with Madre Museum, the Goethe Institute Naples presents a video installation titled The Triumph of Laughter”which is part of the trilogy Laughter Project, made out of other two video installations titled 1-2-3 Laugh and Lachsack through which Steinle deals with Laughter as a culturally traversal phenomenon.
To answer the simple question What is laughter, “I used an experimental approach throughout my various projects on laughter. Above all this involved observing laughter as an independent phenomenon without cause, effect and context. I soon realised that this attempt to isolate laughter – groundless laughter for no purpose – which in the end also puts it on centre stage, scandal –
ised most of my contemporaries. The reason is that in modern times laughter is seen as indissolubly linked with the comic, jokes and humour. Only as ‘genuine laughter’ it does meet the criteria for a modern, enlightened emotional response, which requires people to be sincere, spontaneous and natural. Such a response precludes any kind of theatricality, feigning or playing with ambiguity. This puritanical attitude is in complete contrast with ancient and medieval ‘cultures of laughter’, in which laughter could also be an end in itself and part of playing around during euphoric celebrations and carnival parades with people masquerading as gods, satyrs, philosophers and fools. As life in the modern world has become serious and depressing, laughter has withdrawn from the public domain.
Now and again laughter rings out from a pub, good friends may split their sides with laughter and there are special clubs for cultivating it. Most of all, however, laughter is still very widespread among children. Laughter that enjoys itself; artificial, staged, induced laughter, which can turn into infectious unending laughter at any moment; theatrical, excessive and ambiguous laughter; laughter as such; and laughter as a pure phenomenon: these are my projects’ provocative scenarios.