Joe Black ways of seeing joe black artist joe black toy soldiers mr joe black p>
mixed media and 15,000 hand-painted plastic toy soldiers on aluminium
size 310 x 215 cm
The work references the power of Chairman Mao to lead his Red Army and the population of China under communist rule. The image plays on a quote from the Little Red Book and encapsulates the idea of one man as a unifying and equalising force over thousands.
mixed media with 10,000 hand-painted chess pieces on aluminium
size 234 x 183 cm – 92.1 x 72 in.
The portrait of Stalin signifies the Soviet Dictator as a player who out manoeuvred his political opponents to become a super power. Stalin’s cult of personality and the idea of branding is also a theme within the work.
1,849 handmade badges on aliminium
size 146 x 146 cm
This work depicts the cultural icon Salvador Dalí who cashed in on celebrity and sold himself on personality as well as the merits of his art. Grandiose, eccentric and attention grabbing, was he as blatant and explicit as the sensationalism of a pornographic image?
4,000 handmade badges on aluminium
size 170,5 x 137,5 cm
La Pig is made of small badges depicting pornographic images, along with photos of piglets, that are assembled to portray the face of the fallen French politician known as ‘DSK’. The picture he based his work on is the one taken of DSK when he has been arrested in NYC last year and charged with rape. The politician’s mouth seems to have been crossed with lipstick, which is a strong visual point in the artwork. In the top left corner, the artist made his version of the Paris Match logo: images of the Eiffel tower (‘Paris’) and football babes (‘Match’).
This work appropriates the work of Jeff Koons, who in turn is known to appropriate and re-contextualise objects to challenge ideas of what constitutes high art. The inflatable rabbit has gone through another transformation in this piece, from steel sculpture to two-dimensional image constructed from Lego. The qualities of surface and form are present within the work, as in the original. The image is seductive and plays with ideas of consumption and luxury.
The portrait is a reference to the Picasso’s blue paintings of the early 1900s, when he produced a body of work that depicted solitary figures, including prostitutes and beggers. The pornographic badges and simple monochromatic arrangement of colour, plays with ideas of modern day appropriation of old masters. At the same time the solitary nude females within the work echo the melancholy themes in Picasso’s blue paintings.
The work takes the photograph of Marilyn taken by Bert Stern in the three-day session for Vogue, six weeks before her death in 1962. The close up image shows her intrinsic natural glamour and sexiness, as well as her vulnerability and innocence. From the 2500 photographs taken at the shoot she put crosses through the ones that she didn’t like of herself. Behind the cross and within the face of Marilyn the badges in this piece show dehumanised women bound and tied, as nothing but sex objects. This surface of pornographic imagery draws out a sense of dislocation and emptiness that Marilyn is known to have felt in her life. ” A sex symbol becomes a thing. I hate being a thing.” Marilyn Monroe