With both partnerships, the Haas Brothers are “focusing on displaying positivity,” as Niki says. “That’s the message with these two pieces. They’re just these big, bronze jokes that are the opening to a much larger conversation.” It’s an artistic strategy that’s become a signature for the duo. “Simon and I always talk about our career as something like a Trojan horse. We’re putting something in front of an audience where, inside of the pieces, there might be a message that they never quite thought would be there,” Niki continues.
At face value, it’s easy to see why that could be the case. The works in London are two from a series of six pieces that arise from a sort of grotesque joke drawing game the Brothers began 10 years ago with their older brother, actor and musician Lukas Haas. “It was our 21st birthday and the three of us were competing for two hours to make each other laugh,” says Simon.” (Think “ducks with huge dicks” and “a turtle with a bow tie, with his legs crossed and his balls hanging out.”)
Humor is the wooden skin to the Haas Brothers’ horse, at least in these still relatively early stages of their career. “We use humor in our art to start to relate to somebody,” Niki explains. “If they can sit there and laugh at a bronze sculpture like it’s a joke, that’s pretty cool. That’s the door into that person’s life. If you can make them laugh, they understand you. And as soon as they understand you, they can sympathize with you and then you can start to change the way their mind works.” As of yet, the brothers have no set agenda on how they will change the world, “but it’s going to be positive,” says Niki. “It’s going to be coming from love—as hippie-dippy as that sounds.”