Carla Gannis – The Garden of Emoji Delights

The Garden of Earthly Delights, Hieronymus Bosch’s most ambitious work, is filled with a strange and unique iconography that has intrigued viewers for hundreds of years. One intention of my transcription of his work, in The Garden of Emoji Delights, was to mash up popular historic and contemporary sign systems, and to diversify and expand the Emoji lexicon through this process. Emoji are a contemporary glyph system which offer an emotional shorthand for virtual expression. The pleasurable stylizations are ubiquitous worldwide and across generations. Transcribing visual symbologies of an earlier era using Emoji makes perfect nonsense-sense to me, particularly with Bosch’s work, in that his own visual style was so idiosyncratic and remarkably distinct in contrast to his peers. His transgression of the codified religious iconography of his day, his humor and irreverence, appeal to me most, and feel “modern.”
The large-scale (13ft x 7ft) print piece is an homage to Bosch, and deeply tied in scale and physicality to the original. The subsequent animations I have produced allow me to be more dynamic with this hybrid visual vocabulary, and I can play more (and at times critique more), across time, with the slippage of signifiers.
In his essay “Digicalyptic Realities or, The Frolic of the Flat : Carla Gannis, The Garden of Emoji Delights” Sabin Bors writes “Like with Murakami, the flattened forms in the work of Carla Gannis are an expression of the shallow emptiness that defines consumer culture. They, too, reflect the consumerist pop culture, sexual fetishisms and underlying desires that are prevalent in today’s society…” …“What makes the Garden of Emoji Delights unique is that the visual communication language it manipulates is deeply rooted in our reflexive and ordinary communication. A double subversion thus takes place: the subversion of visual communication languages, and the subversion of art history.” – Sabin Bors, 2014

Carla Gannis is a transmedia artist whose work examines the narrativity of 21st century representational technologies. She holds an MFA in painting from Boston University and is the recipient of several awards, including a 2005 New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Grant in Computer Arts. She has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally. Features on her work have appeared in ARTnews, The Creators Project, The Huffington Post, Wired, Buzzfeed, FastCo,Hyperallergic, Art F City, Art Critical, The Wallstreet Journal, The New York Times and The LA Times, among others. She is Assistant Chair of The Department of Digital Arts at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY.