12 x 20 x 20 cm
Sarah Ortmeyer was born in 1980 in Germany. The devil: a classic icon of myth and religion. For millennia, artists have used demons and devils to represent such concepts as diverse and conflicting as vice, indulgence, deceit, knowledge, rebellion, pain, pleasure, leisure, chaos, ignorance, subjugation, and release. The one consistent throughline in its use is generally some variety of antagonism, transgression. In the world of iOs emoji, the horned, grinning, purple face of Satan cheekily gestures toward something sly or naughty.
Ortmeyer portrays the shadow of the devil emoji as a black circle with horns, whether drawn on silver paper with ‘binder and pigment’ or constructed in three dimensions with pure aluminum.These works, which overlap with her DIABOLUS series, illuminate the relationship between the devil as an artistic symbol with deep history and the familiar emoji. One’s ability to interpret emoji is contingent upon a history of mimesis that has developed in art and culture over centuries. A horned figure becomes horny by association. We understand a purple ball with two curved triangles on top to suggest something taboo, potentially shameful. Through resituating a representation of the emoji in the context of her practice, specifically by materializing an image we are otherwise only exposed to in a pixelated array, Ortmeyer becomes an etymologist of SMS. In this instance, the ‘shadow’ of an emoji may be the lineage of representation throughout history that has resulted in its meaning and our comprehension of that meaning today. The invisible history of a word or symbol is its shadow; Etymology is the shadow cast behind a word or symbol by the light of meaning.
Courtesy of the artist & Dvir Gallery, Tel Aviv I Brussels
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