Galerie Richard

Rhys CHATHAM, Joseph NECHVATAL, Stéphane SIKORA - Viral Concerto

Press release

For the fourth edition of Sunday’s Screening which will take place on September 26 from 2 to 6 p.m., Galerie Richard offers two unique events that complement the current exhibition of digital artist Joseph Nechvatal.

From 2 to 5 p.m., the screening of viral symphOny by Joseph Nechvatal and Stéphane Sikora, in which we discover the conceptual and aesthetic work that this artist leads in the field of sound creation. For the first time, the design of a visual animation and a musical composition were done simultaneously.

At 5 p.m. there will be a performance by composer Rhys Chatham who will play Viral Concerto.

Rhys Chatham is an American composer born in New York in 1952 and living since 1987 in France. He is also a guitarist and trumpet player and follows avant-garde and minimalist musical trends. He is best known for his compositions of symphonies for guitars. In 2005, he wrote as part of the Nuit Blanche, the musical composition A Crimson Grail for 400 electronic guitars.

The exhibition Retinal Art Revisited: History of the Eye runs until September 29, 2010 and offers viewers 15 computer-assisted paintings (10 of which are accompanied by videos). Digital animations on small video screens complement the paintings on canvas. They bring up the table. Very quickly a virus or several computer viruses develop on this image and transform it little by little. In the end the paint did not disappear. She survived while being transformed. A monochrome veil unifies and replaces its initial colors.

Revisited Retinal Art consists of a series of animated paintings depicting the retina of the human eye combined with other images that show the human rectum. Another group of paintings deals with the particular phenomenon of shadows. By the title of this exhibition, Joseph Nechvatal opposes the conception of Marcel Duchamp who advocated that intelligent art could not be aesthetically pleasing.

Nechvatal has been working with electronic images and computer technology since 1986. His computer-assisted paintings translate images of the human body into pictorial units that computer viruses transform. The contamination of the tradition of painting on canvas by new digital technologies thus creates an interface between the virtual and the real, what Joseph Nechvatal calls the “virtual”.

It was in 1991, during a residency at the Louis Pasteur workshop in Arbois and at the Royal Saltworks in Arc et Senans, that he developed a computer virus program with Jean-Philippe Massonie. In 2001, Joseph Nechvatal and Stéphane Sikora combined the initial project of computer viruses with the principles of artificial life, i.e. the creation of synthetic systems that take up the behavioral characteristics of living systems.

Leaves of artificial life are introduced into an image. This population of active viruses develops, reproduces and propagates in the pictorial space. The artist fixes a moment which he then transforms into a painting. If he did not intervene, the propagation process would most often continue until the initial image was completely destroyed.

An interview with the artist accompanies the exhibition.


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