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Reveries of the Generative Mind: Expanding Systems at APT Gallery

SEEN makes no apology for riffing on Werner Herzog’s film on the Internet’s birth. Indeed that film would be the ideal companion piece to the latest fascinating exhibition taking place in Deptford’s APT Gallery. Expanding Systems explores the analogue, digital, generative and abstract production of art and how much it’s about the process as much as the result. One of the curators Brigitte Parusel (herself an artist) led us around the exhibition with artists from here and abroad, and students from nearby Goldsmith’s University’s MA Computational Art programme, producing a thoughtfully assembled body of work that encapsulates the physical and virtual.

Fiona Grady’s Sliding Squares are a site-specific series of geometric shapes on the wall, defying the usual artistic dictum of art being somehow immortal. As Grady herself said, it makes the artist less precious about the work. The shapes expand and rotate on the walls creating direction and movement but very much open to the viewer’s interpretation.

Charley Peters’ DWTK bore repeated viewings. Indeed the artist said that she relied entirely on the process of painting to reveal the final image to her, and was not afraid to leave the lines of previous iterations on the canvas. She used spray paint and acrylic paints, playing one off against the other, again allowing the media to reveal its secrets.

The students on THE MA Computational Art also explored the many iterations that coding generated, then chose that which pleased them most to print (interestingly not A4 or A5 size, but the size of a computer screen). These were works of singular beauty that both attracted with the familiarity of the abstract forms that they explored but also fascinated with their strangeness and newness.

A gigantic video installation Still Life (RGB B) by Casey Reas was truly gobsmacking in the breadth of its vision, process and aesthetic qualities. The installation was created using geometry. The effect is hypnotic and otherworldly as it is the system that performs the work, with no reference to the natural world.

A favourite amongst viewers was Observant Geometry by Patrik Hübner in which the audience’s movements generate abstract geometric shapes, allowing play and spontaneity in the confined space of the gallery.

SEEN wonders at the implications of such engrossing explorations. In some strange way, the art generated by coding seems to tap into something atavistic and primeval that is an echo of the forces at play during the act of creation that brought the universe into being. It is indescribably ancient yet simultaneously modern in its expression. Perhaps this is the intersection of art and science, in that future works of art are as likely to be produced by computer technicians as they are by artists. Brave New World that has such creatures in it.

On until 18th February 2018, 12 noon – 5pm.

APT Gallery
Harold Wharf
6 Creekside