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.