The online editorial and curatorial project for systems, non-objective and reductive artists working in the UK

Website: Chestnuts Design

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Expanding Systems

26 Jan 2018 – 18 Feb 2018,  APT (Art in Perpetuity Trust)

Francesca Franco  |  Fiona Grady  |  Hanz Hancock  |  Patrik Huebner  |  Michael Iveson  |  Patrick Morrissey  |  Goia Mujalli  |  Charley Peters  |  Casey Reas  |  Tim Rodenbroeker   |  Students from Goldsmiths University of London MA Computational Arts

Exhibition curated by Brigitte Parusel in collaboration with Patrick Morrissey and Hanz Hancock, Saturation Point


Expanding Systems explores current and historic developments in generative art made by analogue and digital artists. The exhibition showcases work by contemporary painters and sculptors whose practices are geometric, abstract and/or systems-based, alongside artists who use computer code and algorithms to create work. The artists share several working principles regardless of their individual methodologies -- employing rational processes of numerical systems, repetition or calculation to establish ‘rules’ that are executed either by the hand of the artist or the mechanics of the machine. The documentary Algorithmic Signs - Five pioneers of computer art in conversation, by Francesca Franco, will form part of the exhibition, introducing Ernest Edmonds, Manfred Mohr, Vera Molnár, Frieder Nake and Roman Verostko.

The exhibition explores the recent interest in abstract and non-objective practices by contemporary artists. This has increasingly become part of the visual language of a new generation of painters and sculptors; unbound by historic movements like suprematism, constructivism, concrete or minimalism, they negotiate their own relationships with reductive practice. The presence of computer technology, with its characteristic aesthetics and analytical thinking, which is part of our current everyday experience, may have had an influence on this development.

The analogue artworks in the exhibition correspond to themes, processes or visual qualities that are often found in the coded art. They have a sense of movement, experimenting with self-determined systems from which the work is manifest. Fiona Grady’s systematic wall drawings are like stills of animations; she uses geometric forms to map physical space and sequencing in architectural settings. Hanz Hancock and Patrick Morrissey visualise complex numeric systems in their paintings, drawings and sculptural installations. Michael Iveson works with the imperfections or glitches of systems, using mass-produced but vulnerable materials like bubble wrap to create prints and sculptures. Goia Mujalli’s immersive prints on canvas emerge from repeated movements and overlapping textures. Charley Peters uses layering and juxtaposition to explore the materiality of paint and the disrupted syntax of pictorial composition synonymous with our experiences of reading space, material and abstract form in the post-digital image world.

The digital artworks show the innovative use of creative coding. The artists in the exhibition represent a varied, dynamic community of programmers, including Casey Reas, artist and co-founder of Processing, the programming language mainly used in the exhibition. In his work Still Life, a ‘painting’ evolves over time. Expanded Systems also includes new work from creative computing students at Goldsmiths University, who present prints from digital animations and object mapping. Designer/artist Patrik Huebner’s algorithmically-driven interactive piece is generated by the movements of the audience. In Tim Rodenbroeker’s abstract short film, geometric computer-generated animations are synced with sound, referencing early film experiments from the 1920s.

Image courtesy of Domobaal Gallery

Expanding Systems allows us to see the creative potential in visual rules or algorithms across both analogue and digital processes. It also shows that using coding as a tool, opens new fields for artistic experimentation.

Alll images except for Domobaal image courtesy of Brigitte Parusel