The works share one extensive background, which the artist cut into pieces to create the base for ten artworks. It is a digital tablet of hieroglyphs and symbols, launched into the NFT space to carve out a life for itself. The variety of icons and signs, historical and modern, join the interplay in making the new type of language. It exists on all the levels of cultural production — from popular to a high-brow, the series addresses the construct of a social class. The selection of the elements of visual culture creates a democratic space of possible meanings. Each component is free to engage with another independently from its cultural status. It opens an opportunity to free the signs from their given purpose. Therefore, skeletons, Malaysian university logos, ancient icons, and gold bull coins, among other symbols, create an interplay for the viewer. It can write its own story and explain itself instead of being a snapshot of the static culture.
Look closer for niche memes and comedy engraved into the background. Karilampi also takes a jab at the “cellectuals” culture; anonymously starting his own such account as part of the process in creating his geneses. Very rare screenshots and sourced PNG’s are mixed with drawings and rap music terminology — all creating a bigger picture if pieced together..
The New York-based designer Bryant Wells created the dotted top layer of each work. It is a machine-generated random watermark that consists of the titles and symbols from the artist’s previous works. This background stitches the pieces together onto the common ground. Like the elements of a scattered Rosetta stone, the details combined can reveal a potential for hidden knowledge.
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Ilja Karilampi’s work explores music and pop culture narratives, creating new effects, journeys, and alternative ways to look at ourselves and the surface. He’s restructuring the over-consumption of the day to day advertorial language and creating a vibrant actively reactional hybrid, half way between record covers and new census readings. Essentially a storyteller, his output over the last decade has been reflecting his own role as the producer and his aesthetic interests in glamorous social realism. By means of unorthodox graphic design, video effects, laser-cut aluminium, UV stickers and rhythmic musical gestures, Karilampi assembles conceptual and sculptural narratives of urban life. Originally from Gothenburg, Sweden, and educated at Frankfurts Städelschule, Karilampi has exhibited at Revolver Galería, Lima (2020); Carl Kostyal, Malmö (2019); Manifesta, Palermo, (2018); Kiasma, Helsinki (2017), La Plage, Paris (2015); and MoMA PS1, New York (2012).