Emoji Bosch: The Garden of Earthly Delights Redux

11.26.13 Marina Galperina

Artist Carla Gannis made this very detailed recreation of one of the panels in Hieronymus Bosch 1503 triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights for Eyebeam’s Emoji Show (Dec 12-14).

Carla Gannis tells ANIMAL:

I’ve always been fascinated with Bosch, and the cacophony of creatures and chimera that inhabit his works. What interests me most is the flatness, the way he uses religious iconographic style and tropes to explore the profane.

When Eyebeam announced the Emoji Art & Design show, I wanted to make something that contextualized Emoji within this iconographic lineage, re-inscribing Bosch’s work, using this new secular, pop vocabulary of signs and digital symbols which are as pervasive now as religious symbology was in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Emoji add a new flatness to the iconography of the past, emptying it of controversy and replacing it with something akin to Murikami’s Superflat aesthetic questioning the ‘sins’ of a contemporary consumer culture.

Together, it’s all cohesive and bright. It’s also surprising just how many cheery emojis find their equivalent in Bosch’s language of eternal horrors, when placed just so by the artist. The concepts that modern society so desperately needs to expressed in a minimalist avatar — ear, knife, TV, dice, syringe… — play right into humanity’s downfall and punishment.

The emoji expression for “giant pig-nun is being sexually aggressive with me” and “there’s a trumpet in butt” seem fairly universal.