scroll paintings, 2014-2015
chinese ink, rice paper
Emoticopies is a series of paintings inspired from internet culture, its symbolism and restructuring of systems, such as ownership and representation. The paintings are made with chinese stone seals, ‘zhūshā‘ normally used for signing scroll paintings. In place of the artist’s signature is the copyright symbol. Developed during an art residency in Beijing, the paintings are made with basic local chinese traditional materials: rice paper and chinese ink.
Fascinated by the reduction of expression into gestural marks including chinese landscape scenery to giant calligraphic characters, the artist explores art as emotional mark with an internet lens. Yunan landscapes are replaced by Emoticons, simple ASCII combinations that are used in emails, websites and text messages to convey the sentiment of the author where physical gestural prompts are absent. Many of these sets of letters/symbols immitate a facial expression which can aide digital communication in describing the tone or feeling of an entry. By remediating these metacommunicative shortcuts into large scroll paintings, the artist makes the statement that art is basically interpretation and expression, literally.
The secondary theme if not the primary one is the issue of copyright in the digital era. As one looks closer to the paintings, the emoticons are not painted with brushes, but stamped with little copyright symbols. Parallel with the onset of the internet, the increase of creative commons and other types of shared distribution have altered the landscape of private property for ephemeral content. Here, its repetative application reduces it to an abstract series of curves and therefore eliminates its former symbolism of ownership.
Additional paintings include the most used emoticons: