Solo exhibition

6 - 28 February 2015


James R Ford, Jeopardy (installation view), 2015, photo: Tom Teutenberg

Ford, in conjunction with PAULNACHE, will be producing 100 handmade scratchcards in the run up to the exhibition, Jeopardy. Each scratchcard can be purchased for $50 and, once scratched, becomes a limited edition artwork. One of these scratchcards will reveal the title of the new neon work by Ford, Something or Something Else, and the card’s owner will win this work. Jean Paul Sartre famously said “We are our choices” and in this neon text Ford presents us with a fundamental choice, ironically in the form of sign typically used in advertising. We are defined by the decisions we make, and this is always dangerous in times of strident ideologies, no less now than in Sartre’s time of dictators. We are consumers of signs and symbols: trademarks of status or affiliation; purchasing our desires by buying into peer groups or lifestyles. There is a cruel radiating candy cane aspect to the tubing, too sweet to eat yet too bright to resist. Red like a warning then blue as addiction, flashing on and off repeatedly; this neon artwork cajoles, demands, seduces or hypnotises us: what to buy, what to do, what to spend time on.

The new mirror works form part of Ford’s ongoing series, The Relativity of Things, and speak of those things that we should maybe care less about or spend less time on. The three smaller mirrors reference some of the most popular social networking websites: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and incorporate the viewer’s reflection to question the projection of the self in their use. Is what we see in the mirror and what we present online the same, or do we tend to filter and adjust what we post in order to construct a version of ourselves we prefer others to see? With these online personas we become, in a Baudrillardian sense, simulations, perhaps more real to some others than in the flesh. It seems uncanny to live in front of a screen, like willing captives in Plato’s cave. Tyler Durden would tell us: “You are not your latest tweet, you are not what you post on Facebook, you are not your instagram filters.”