James Joyce Gives colette Paris '100 Likes'
Likes are the currency of the contemporary. It used to be love.
Travel back to the 1960s and 70s and you find plenty of peace symbols, daisy buttons, and a reminder that love is what counts. But we’ve traded up, or so we like to think. Instead of the analog expression of amity, love, we get likes just by sharing our thoughts and vision on the Internet. Whether it’s a particularly cutting or witty tweet, or a quick Instagram from a helicopter or mountaintop that displays our sneakers and sweeping vistas, we get immediate responses to our most dispensable ideas. This change has frustrated James Joyce who is using it as the center of his latest exhibition at colette in Paris called ‘100 Likes.’
“It’s partly my frustration with it, my often bewilderment at it, and the complete absurdity of it that led me to make these art pieces, which are in their own way completely absurd,” James tells Elephant Mag about the high value placed on response from strangers online. Covering the walls at collette are a collection of pieces that play on this new currency and how we let it shape the way we interact with the world. Typographic representation of the word “LIKE” are printed in a bevy of colors that reference Robert Indiana’s classic piece “Love.” As the Likes stack up around the walls of the space, what seems to be an ephemeral energetic trade online become the structure of a wall, heightened through mass. The walls come in closer, ready to fall heavier, and create a form larger than the fragile humans that walk in front of them, perhaps ready to fall and crush us.
Along with the Likes are a series of collapsed faces including 'Here for a Good Time not a Long Time,' similar to his piece ‘Perseverance in the Face of Absurdity,’ that was on display as a part of Banksy’s collective show ‘Dismaland.’ But James has taken the motif further, varying the original’s color and bringing in a collection of other collapsed faces that may remind you of clowns in 'Killing Time, Hanging Around and Cheap Distraction.' We’ll never know if these are happy clowns or sad clowns (their mouths, curved into a smile or a frown, have collapsed out of composition become just another constituent piece for you to imagine its communication), but their lampoon of the overused emoticon is alive and well, beckoning you to reckon with it.
‘100 Likes’ by James Joyce is on display at colette Paris through February 27.
James Joyce and Banksy's Festival of Malcontent
We put smiley faces everywhere. From shopping bags to dishonest texts and passive aggressive work emails, we love to smile at everyone we see in every possible context, even if it’s not a completely honest portrayal of our emotions. When international street art legend Banksy was putting together his latest curated experience, Dismaland, he needed a representation of this part of our culture and found an easy ally in artist James Joyce whose video installation, “Perseverance in the Face of Absurdity,” riffs on how we use the image in our culture. The eyes and mouth of the smiley face have collapsed from their composition, left to be held as composite pieces in the cistern of the yellow face, in constant motion as if they’re trying to find the right way to smile.
Banksy’s curated experience is “Dismaland,” arranged to mimic and subvert the experience of visiting traditional theme parks. Tight security, endless lines, throngs and throngs of people are the tent poles of a day at Dismaland, punctuated by artwork surrendered by artists like Banksy, Damien Hirst, and David Shrigley. When Bansky first approached James it was in response to his painting, “Here for a Good Time not a Long Time,” the static, painted version of the piece that made its way into the Dismaland gallery. From that starting point, Banksy asked James to create a bespoke version for the exhibition. They discussed the idea of doing a physical revolving piece where all the parts of the face tumble around but when Joyce had a test animation made they agreed that it would be great to develop that as projected piece. James ended up getting a large bespoke circular screen built to maximise the impact of the piece, showing it in the low-light gallery, the first to envelope the audience.
The breadth and scope of this show will go down in the annals of pop art history for decades, and that’s something that James is acutely aware of. The experience is unique not just for the timely themes, but also the collection of artists that have come together to explore this part of our culture. “It’s obviously an amazing thing to be involved in,” says James. “The whole event is really well put together. It’s great to be in that show and exhibiting with such a diverse mix of artists.”
Dismaland is on view until September 27. Tickets are available at the park for £3 and online for £5. Check the website for availability.
James Joyce and Absolut Make Your Holidays Pop
Holiday iconography comes from generations past. Gilded wooden carvings, illuminated manuscripts, and poems from the 19th century. Heavy garlands span the space between thick stockings and gold baubles. It is ornate and ornamental, and a lot of effort and expense. It’s easy to wonder: Why do we bother? Why don’t we clean it up a little?
Enter: James Joyce for Absolut Vodka. Pulling inspiration from Andy Warhol and the Pop Art movement he helped to spearhead, Absolut has created a campaign “Holidays Pop” as a part of their “Transform Today” initiative. To celebrate Absolut's new collaboration with Warhol, they tapped James Joyce to take advantage of his clean, vector aesthetic to help make their new vision of the holidays sing.
Since the launch on November 2, James’ work has been featured on Absolut’s social media, most notably their Instagram. The multimedia options that Instagram offers makes for the perfect environment to show off a handful of James’ abilities. From still compositions that directly reference the clean layouts of the Pop movement, to .gifs with drink recipes, they’re creating a full world of Pop Holidays.
But it’s more than vodka drinks for this pairing; it’s really a fully integrated and immersive holiday experience. Between cocktail recipes and artful bottles, they’ve put together step by step instructions on how to tie a bow tie, and even an inspirational quote from Warhol himself encouraging your best holiday wear. Don’t forget that for how much we eat and drink over these last few weeks of the year, they’re a celebration of those we love and reflection on the ending year. The goal is to have fun and find some pieces of joy before moving on to a new beginning.