February 2023
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2 Ply

James’ project for the International 2002 has been made for the schoolyard of Pleasant Street Board School. Taking over two disused bunkers and the walls of the yard, his installation combines painting, signage and animation. He has described the theme of the installation as a ‘thematic path that contrasts innocent childhood experiences with an overwhelming sexuality that is purely adolescent in its fervour’. Assorted characters appear in all aspects of the installation, portrayed in the brash graphic style of capitalist mass culture. Yet, despite their cartoonesque natures, the characters still manage to convey very real emotions and human concerns. A strange ‘little marshmallow fellow’ is convincing in his anguish, even when in the form of a mass-produced commercial sign. The characters are brought to life in an animation that takes the familiar form of Saturday morning kids’ TV. The cacophony of images in the installation recalls an ideal world of fun and fantasy, but it is a flawed ideal tainted by a disquieting adult tension. James describes his work as a world in which ‘your bike gets stolen, and your mom can’t help you. But the cheerful counterbalance of an off-model Pink Panther holding his Johnson lets you laugh the whole thing off. These works are for people who giggle when others fall down.’ Sarah Clennie

Project Credits Courtesy the artist Comissioned by Henry Moore Foundation Contemporary Projects With thanks to: Deitch Projects, New York. The artist would like to give special thanks to Devin Flynn


14 September – 24 November 2002


Pleasant Street