Code of Arms

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Open: Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 11am-7pm

39 Dover Street, W1S 4NN, London, UK
Open: Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 11am-7pm


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Code of Arms

London

Code of Arms
to Sat 15 Jan 2022
Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 11am-7pm

Harold Cohen, Mario Klingemann, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Manfred Mohr, Vera Molnar, Frieder Nake & George Nees

Gazelli Art House presents Code of Arms, its inaugural group exhibition investigating the history of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in art. The exploration of implementing code and AI in art in the 1970s – 80s comes at a time of rapid change in our understanding and appreciation of computer art.

Artworks

Offshore 1, 2008

Pigment ink on panel
213.4 x 106.7 cm, 84 x 42 in Framed : 217 x 110 cm, 85 3/8 x 43 1/4 in

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First Encounter, 2010

Oil over pigment ink on panel
116.8 x 186 cm 46 x 73 1/4 in

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Another Spring (for R.C.), 2011

Oil over pigment ink on canvas
213.4 x 365.8 cm 84 x 144 in

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Central, 1965

Oil and collage on canvas
76 x 102 cm 29 7/8 x 40 1/8 in

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Sets of straight lines, 2018

Plotter drawing with Ink on Paper
32 x 50 cm 12 5/8 x 19 3/4 in
Unique

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Sets of straight lines, 2018

Plotter drawing with Ink on Paper
32 x 50 cm 12 5/8 x 19 3/4 in
Unique

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Judge vs Monkey, 2007

Painting on canvas
60 x 60 cm 23 5/8 x 23 5/8 in

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Cobalamime, 2017

Giclée printing with long-lasting mineral pigments on cotton paper Hahnemuhle Museum Etching 350 gms
76 x 50 cm 29 7/8 x 19 3/4 in
Unique + 1AP

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Memories of Passersby I (Solitaire Version), 2018

Multiple GANs, one 4K screen, custom handmade chestnut wood console, which hosts AI brain and additional hardware.
212 x 80 x 55 cm 83 1/2 x 31 1/2 x 21 5/8 in
Edition 5 of 6 + 2APs ()

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Double Signe Sans Signification, 2005

Acrylic on canvas
50 x 50 cm 19 3/4 x 19 3/4 in

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Deux Angles Droits, 2006

Paint on canvas
100 x 100 cm 39 3/8 x 39 3/8 in

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8 Colonnes, 1985

Plotter drawing, ink on paper
23 x 32 cm 9 1/8 x 12 5/8 in

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4 x 7 Rectangles, 1986

Plotter drawing, ink on paper
31 x 21 cm 12 1/4 x 8 1/4 in

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Sets of straight lines, 2018

Plotter drawing with Ink on Paper
32 x 50 cm 12 5/8 x 19 3/4 in
Unique

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Ellipsoide, Kugel und Ellipsoid im Unterraum, 1986

Laser print
25 x 36 cm 9 7/8 x 14 1/8 in
Edition of 2

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Labyrinthe 4, Decke fast isotrop, 1986

Laser print
25 x 36 cm 9 7/8 x 14 1/8 in
Edition of 2

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60 second Wipe, 1968

Watercolour and pen on paper
27.94 x 35.56 cm 11 x 14 in

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Cyborg, 1967

Collage
44.45 x 45.56 x 3.81 cm 17 1/2 x 18 x 1 1/2 in

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Missing Heart = Heartless?, 1970

Collage
46.04 x 37.78 x 3.81 cm 18 1/8 x 14 7/8 x 1 1/2 in

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Aspect, 1964

Acrylic and oil on canvas
213 x 213 cm 83 43/50 x 83 43/50 in

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P176, 1976

Silkscreen on paper
40 x 40 cm 15 3/4 x 15 3/4 in
AP (Ed of 80)

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P122, 1972-76

Silkscreen on paper
40 x 40 cm 15 3/4 x 15 3/4 in
AP (Ed of 80)

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P036, 1971-76

Silkscreen on paper
40 x 40 cm 15 3/4 x 15 3/4 in
AP (Ed of 80)

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P-395h, 1985

Plotter drawing, ink on paper
60 x 60 cm 23 5/8 x 23 5/8 in

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Construct/Décor [8] Chtonoid, 1986

Laser print
25 x 36 cm 9 7/8 x 14 1/8 in
Edition of 6

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The exhibition brings together pioneer artists in computer and generative art such as Georg Nees (b.1926), Frieder Nake (b.1938), Manfred Mohr (b.1938) and Vera Molnar (b.1924), and iconic artists employing AI in their practice such as Harold Cohen (b.1928), Lynn Hershman Leeson (b.1941), and Mario Klingemann (b.1970).

Code of Arms follows the evolution of the medium through the works of exhibited artists. Harold Cohen’s painting, Aspect (1964), a work shown at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1965 (Harold Cohen: Paintings 1960-1965), marks the artist’s earliest point of enquiry unfolding his scientific and artistic genius. Cohen, who was most famous for creating the computer program AARON, a predecessor of contemporary AI technologies, implemented the program in his work from 80s onwards as seen by the drawings from this period in the exhibition.

Much of the early computer art works explored geometric forms and structure employing the technology which was still in the infant stage. Plotter drawings carried out by flatbed precision plotter and early printouts by Manfred Mohr, Georg Nees, Frieder Nake and Vera Molnar from the mid-1960s through the 1980s are an excellent representation of that period: the artists focused on the visual forms rather than addressing the underlying meaning and ethics of using computers in their art. The artists saw machines as an external force that would allow them to explore the visual aspect of the works and experiment with the form in an objective manner. Coming from different backgrounds, they worked alongside each other and made an immense contribution to the early computer art.

Initially working as an abstract expressionist artist, Manfred Mohr (b. 1938) was inspired by Max Bense’s information aesthetics which defined his approach to the creative process from the 1960s onwards. Encouraged by the computer music composer Pierre Barbaud whom he met in 1967, Mohr programmed his first computer drawings in 1969. On display are Mohr’s plotter drawings of the 70s and 80s alongside a generative software piece from 2015.

Georg Nees (1926-2016) was a German academic who showed one of the world’s first computer graphics created with a digital computer in 1965. In 1970, at the 35th Venice Biennale, he presented his sculptures and architectural designs, which he continued to work on through the 1980s as seen through his drawings in this exhibition.

Frieder Nake (b. 1938) was actively pursuing computer art in the 1960s. With over 300 works produced and shown at various exhibitions (including Cybernetic Serendipity at ICA, London in 1968), Nake brought his background in computer science and mathematics into his art practice. At the “The Great Temptation exhibition” at the ZKM in 2005, Nees said: ′′There it was, the great temptation for me, for once not to represent something technical with this machine but rather something ‘useless’ – geometrical patterns.′′ Alongside his iconic 60s plotter drawings, Nake’s recent body of work (Sets of Straight Lines, 2018) will be on view as a reminder of the artist’s ability to transform and move away from the geometric abstraction.

Vera Molnar (b. 1924) is a Hungarian-French artist who is considered a pioneer of computer and generative art. Having created combinational images since 1959, Molnar’s first non-representational images (abstract geometric and systematic paintings) were produced in 1946. Her plotter drawings from the 80s are displayed alongside her later canvas and work on paper (Double Signe Sans Signification, 2005; Deux Angles Droits, 2006) demonstrating the artist’s consistency and dedication to the process over three decades.

The exhibition moves on to explore relationships between digital technologies and humans through works by Lynn Hershman Leeson (b.1941), an American artist and filmmaker working in moving image, collage, drawing and new media. The artist, who has recently been the focus of a solo exhibition at the New Museum, New York, will show a series of her rare drawings from the 60s and 70s, as well as her seminal work; Agent Ruby, commissioned by SFMoMA (2001), which is an algorithmic work that interacts with online users through a website, shaping the AI’s memory, knowledge and moods. Leeson is known for the first interactive piece using Videodisc (Lorna (1983)), and Deep Contact (1984), the first artwork to incorporate a touch screen.

Mario Klingemann brings neural networks, code and algorithms into the contemporary context. The artist investigates systems of today’s society employing deep learning, generative and evolutionary art, glitch art, data classification. The exhibition features his recent digital artwork Memories of Passersby I (Solitaire Version), 2018, and prints Morgan le Fay and Cobalamime from 2017.

Courtesy of Gazelli Art House


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