NOME Gallery presents Iconographies, Quayola‘s latest solo show in Germany, a continuation of an ongoing project that employs computational methods to translate iconic paintings into abstract compositions made of points, lines, geometries, hues, saturations, and texts. Quayola’s abstract forms become distinct through their power of differentiation, allowing a new visual language to emerge that addresses both object and process. As writer, artist, and academic Daniel Rourke suggests, we are invited to active perception: “Iconographies asks the viewer to slash and sunder, to cut and separate, to hack and cleave, to slit, rive, rip, dissect, and disunite with our wandering eyes and reactivated minds.”
The first series of works in the exhibition translates the iconography of Judith and Holofernes into anodised prints that depict abstract formations of the symbolic images. The second consists of a unique edition of three Ditone prints that recreates the “Adoration of the Magi” by Botticelli using complex geometrical forms and colours. In Iconographies #81-20, Adoration after Botticelli, Quayola translates the geometric points used in the previous work into nine variations of code alongside a text from Vite degli artisti by Vasari. Finally, the exhibition also features Iconographies #16-01, Venus & Adonis after Rubens, which transforms the “Venus & Adonis” by Rubens into a topography of geometric contours.
A special catalogue accompanies the exhibition, presenting Quayola’s work and contributions by Adriano Aymonino, Sabin Bors, and Daniel Rourke.
“Paintings with well-known iconographies, such as Judith and Holofernes or the Adoration of the Magi, are thus stripped of any content and transformed into abstract, rocky landscapes in which the memory of the original figurative image is almost completely gone. These formal metamorphoses are the result of an exercise in restraint in which images are reduced to their skeletal components, ultimately in a way similar to Itten’s. That which is instinctively recognisable is abandoned in favour of mathematical relationships expressed in space. The process of rational transformation of the familiar into something new and uncanny is one of the most fascinating aspects of Quayola’s images. Even more fascinating is the fact that, somehow, an echo of the original organic shapes is still trapped in the grid of impersonal relationships.” (Adriano Aymonino)
“Quayola’s digital abstractions derive their force from the regime of seeing they create. The cuts, alterations and re-compositions that characterise this regime escape formal discipline to produce resonance and depth. They reflect on the vitality of seeing itself and the potential for visual variation. Yet the pictorial qualities of the works reveal ideas in matter rather than in the mind, echoing the Spinozist notion of ‘thought’ as the attribute proper to substance or matter.” (Sabin Bors)
“Part of the power of Quayola’s images is to continually re-focus the universe from the point of the viewing subject. Scales of the vast and the impossibly miniature are switched in their place as the eye wanders. For as the ‘inside’ of each painting splits asunder and spills forth its colourful polygons, so the ‘outside’ world becomes a mere frame for the new inner-infinity of the image. This thrilling waltz with perspective renders human scales of vision elastic. Quayola’s works highlight the stunning capacity of all new technologies to mutate the things they frame forever, hijacking and warping preconceived notions of time and space.” (Daniel Rourke)
Quayola was born in 1982, Rome, Italy. He lives and works in London, United Kingdom. Widely acclaimed for his immersive multi-channel video installations, animated painting, and large-scale sculptures, London-based artist Quayola merges classical aesthetics with custom built software and computer algorithms to create a space for contemplation in the virtual realm. Often using iconic paintings, stained glass windows, or frescoes as source material, the artist re-contextualises original masterpieces by transforming brush strokes, sculpture, and architecture into algorithmically derived abstract geometry, moving image, and sound. Special commissions allowed the artist rare access to the art and architecture of churches, theatres, and museums in Europe, including the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Sistine Chapel, for the realisation of his series of films, prints, and installations entitled Strata.
Quayola’s recent works include Captives, an ongoing series of digital and physical sculptures initiated in 2013 as a contemporary interpretation of Michelangelo’s “Prigioni” and his technique of “non finito.” The work, created through the use of complex mathematical functions, computer-generated geological formations, and industrial robots, explores the tension and equilibrium between form and matter, man-made objects of perfection and complex forms of nature, and received an honorary mention at the Ars Electronica 2014.
Quayola has exhibited and performed his work internationally, and in 2013 was awarded the Golden Nica at Ars Electronica for the project Forms with co-author Memo Atken. Past displays of his work include a project for the 54th Venice Biennale at the Italian Cultural Institute in London and exhibitions at Paco Das Artes, Sao Paulo; National Art Center, Tokyo; Pushkin Museum, Moscow; Center for Fine Arts, Brussels; Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; MU Artspace, Eindhoven; the British Film Institute, London; bitforms gallery, New York; Gaîté Lyrique, Paris; Palais des Beaux Arts, Lille; Grand Theatre, Bordeaux; Church of Saint Eustache, Paris; and EMPAC, New York.
Also a frequent collaborator on musical projects, Quayola has worked with composers, orchestras, and musicians including Mira Calix, Plaid, Vanessa Wagner, the London Contemporary Orchestra, and the National Orchestra of Bordeaux.