The advertising industry is one with a very specific and oftentimes narrow language; Blue and Joy, the artist duo who go mostly by their best-known characters’ names, have for the last 10 years upended that language. Now, with a decade of practice under their belts, they’ve brought the full spectrum of their oeuvre to Galleria Ca’ d’Oro in New York. The show, “The Last Discouraging Adventure of Blue and Joy,” is a timeline of sorts of the duo’s evolution, from simple ironic cartoons to large-scale installations.
Throughout their transformation, from designing T-shirts to placing sculptures in the Church of St. Matthew, Blue and Joy have maintained their crucial ironic detachment and a sensitivity to capitalism’s bombastic visual language. Their forms and materials—pills, cartoon bubbles, foil, Post-it notes—are still informed by their roots in the advertising industry—which is both catalyst and casualty in their artistic pursuits. Fabio La Fauci and Daniele Sigalot, both born in Italy, originally created their characters to counteract the sunshiney, saccharine messages they were forced to create for their day jobs in the industry. Blue and Joy, named for their singular moods, were characters who enjoyed no happy endings. Over time, La Fauci and Sigalot built on the themes they had explored with their comics, taking that salty view of communications to large-scale installation.
In the over 100 pieces on display, their mindset is clear, despite the fact that it’s rendered through a vast array of genres and mediums. La Fauci and Sigalot, even once they rebranded and began working out of the studio they founded in Berlin, “La Pizzeria,” have a flair for the symbols that inundate us daily. Their eye for color, texture, and evocative materials is clear. In The Geometry of the Wind (2015), they bring bright colors to childhood symbols (here, paper airplanes) that could either signify hope or the end of nostalgic flight; they share the gallery with other new works that retool the original Blue and Joy characters, sad jokes drawn in familiarly twee lines.
“The Last Discouraging Adventure of Blue and Joy” is on view at Galleria Ca’ D’Oro, New York, Oct. 8th–Nov. 19th, 2015.