Joie Iacono is a multidisciplinary artist whose diverse practice includes photography, video, painting, drawing, sculpture and music. Born in New York, Iacono studied at the School of Visual Arts and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree under the tutelage of artist Billy Sullivan in 2003. The same year she debuted her first solo show ‘To Drown A Rose’ at Wallspace Gallery which The New Yorker’s Vince Aletti described as ‘…an intriguingly elliptical self-portrait, both literally and metaphorically, comprised of an eccentric arrangement of variously sized color still lifes, portraits, and landscapes.’ Iacono went on to apprentice to the photographer David Armstrong while residing as the door girl of the legendary club APT for 7 years, often playing impromptu afterhours DJ sets. Continuing her work between visual art and music, she then spent 4 years collaborating with Anohni/Antony and the Johnsons during which time she made her directorial debut with the “Crazy in Love” music video. Relocating to Berlin, Germany in 2013, Joie resumed her music practice by creating soundscapes in galleries and museums while masquerading as a DJ at some of Europe’s most prominent clubs, often times blurring the boundaries between DJ Set and performance art. More recently, Iacono and long time collaborator Andrew Butler of Hercules and Love Affair rejoined under the alias Hoarder. They describe Hoarder as an audio-visual project which has seen the two directing music videos and producing noise-based music. Their first release, ‘Consumer Regret’ is available on Khemia Records.
With ‘In Praise Of The Whip,’ Joie Iacono presents a selection of new sketchbook works from January 2020. Seeking to explore and subvert her relationship with the ideologies of her adopted home of Berlin, Germany, Iacono engages BDSM imagery to represent the Nietzschean thought that every relationship—both externally and internally—is an opportunity for dominance or submission. Drawing from the city’s tradition of “Geben und Nehmen” (Give and Take) to illustrate this dynamic, the artist incorporates found objects from “Zu Verschenken”(To Give Away) boxes on the streets of Berlin into painting and sculpture. For Iacono, this altogether non-consumerist deed of giving away no longer needed possessions rather than discarding them becomes a heroic act against anti-environmentalist and patriarchal aggression. She then liberates these objects and books from their pre-existing lives in a revisionist fashion. Alpine landscapes are transformed with paint, ink and digital processes while other pages are torn from their binding, painted out and become the backdrop for matriarchal propaganda, gilded and indoctrinated in 14k gold. Advertising campaigns and perfume bottles are edited to become a wordplay of sadomasochistic ideals. In ‘Measured In Secret,’ Iacono uses bondage rope and nylon stockings to constrict black coated steel construction straps in a state of looping tension between the legs of a coated iron frame as a white ball of putty melts in descent to meet its metallic counterpart in a puddle on the floor. These artistic interventions are punctuated by self-referencing images of men being used as objects in the creation process—one as a printing block, the other as an easel. Set against self-portraits of the artist, this seemingly disparate assemblage becomes a raw mise-en-scène of a female lead future as imagined by the artist, where Iacono herself is the protagonist.
The podcast presented here follows a similar form. Joie says “I wanted to focus on erotic catharsis… a soundtrack for ritualistic encounters—ones where the boundaries between love and hate, reward and punishment, longing and fear melt together.”