FACE WITH TEARS OF JOY
CORY ARCANGEL (USA), SIMON DENNY(NEW ZEALAND), ANDY HOLDEN (UK), MAURICE MBIKAYI (CONGO),
ALEXANDRA PACE (MALTA), ROB PRUITT (USA), PAUL SOCHACKI (POLAND/GERMANY), AMALIA ULMAN (ARGENTINA/SPAIN), SERENA VESTRUCCI (ITALY)
CURATED BY SARA DOLFI AGOSTINI
Opening 12 April 2019, 7:30 – 9:30PM
Exhibition dates: 13 April – 14 June 2019
The exhibition Face With Tears of Joy takes its title from the emoji that goes by that name, which was dignified with Word of The Year status by the Oxford University Press in 2015. That is when a playful and inconclusive image defied the exactitude of the written word.
Foundations of this conceptual flip can be traced back to the 90s, when computer culture turned from professional to amateur, as it inserted itself into all territories of human creation, becoming the first truly global stage for communication, storytelling, knowledge production and distribution. To achieve commodity status – and thus commercial success – computer technology and its interfaces had to undergo a gradual transformation. They had to become likeable, user-friendly, and quite simply, easy.
Inspired by this phenomenon, the exhibition brings together nine international artists whose work delves into the challenges of language in a globalised world, and especially the shift from actual words to pictorial signs that are per se ambiguous, yet also joyful. They defy criticism and open up to interaction and entertainment in a way that we have never experienced before.
The increasing role of emojis, gifs, memes, social media and video games in our lives runs parallel to, and flirts with, a desire for immediacy and a growing intransigent rejection of complexity and engagement in the real world. Together, they have nurtured unprecedented imageries – modern hieroglyphics, pictorial forms for the spoken world – and transformed an audience of adults into one of forever kids and adolescents.
The ultimate assumption is that once artists were the only adults allowed to act in the world like children. The cliché of the eyes of the child now applies to everyone. Yet, what once mattered in terms of artistic representation and creative freedom, has now expanded to the spheres of identity politics and social responsibility. Who are we, and what happens when every message can have multiple interpretations from serious to cosmetic? What present reality and future can we build?
This exhibition is for everybody. From analog-born digital-converted new children to the digital natives, who have experienced no other world than this.
Tuesday – Friday, 1–6pm
Sunday, Monday, public holidays – closed