Traversing the Threshold presents robotic paintings and video works made in collaboration with the media artist Marcus Nebe. The works stretch out from the two-dimensional representation of a painting into the space, and expose the temporal and physical area of the artist’s creative process through the mediums of robotic painting and video. What could have been executed as one painting constructed of thousands of brushstrokes has instead been decomposed and distributed over numerous sheets of rice paper. I cropped different sections of the master particle generator image and translated the individual particles into single brushstrokes (assigning parameters such as, for example, the size, length, pressure and speed variation of the strokes), before sending it to the robot for the final execution. The individual paper works are extracted from a complex of computer-generated particles software (Simulation of a World Overview) according to Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation. Scaled to different sizes, each can be viewed not only as an individual work but also as part of the modular wall installation. Nebe’s video compositions utilize close-up footage he made of the ink and paper interacting as I created the works, offering intriguing temporal perspectives on the material’s response and impact on the act of painting. The fragility of the ink-infused rice paper work in particular stands in sharp contrast to the industrial robot used to create them. As with Japanese calligraphy (the reference is obvious and undeniable), the brush trajectories and the ink’s behaviour as it penetrates the surface are here of several magnitudes more importance than the perception of the object itself.
What did you create?
Room installation of robotic paintings and video. The work stretches into and exposes the temporal and physical space of the artist’s creative process through the mediums of robotic painting and video in the form of a room installation. The gallery space is filled with 28 individual ink on rice paper robotic paintings, some which are hung from the ceiling in varying heights, and some that are spreads as a composition on a wall, offering a novel way for the viewer to experience painting — underlining the materiality of the object, and the process of creation. Video and digital works are spread among the painting, adding linear dimensions (time) in opposition to the static manifestations of painting.
Why did you make it?
I wanted to further explore the integration of computer and robotic technologies in the painterly process, and its possibilities to capture, save, translate and manipulate simple gestures and more complex tasks as digital information. Strokes can be generated that appear organic but are realized in a manner that only a machine is capable of: with exact repetition, or distribution of individual strokes, for example. The robot becomes a powerful tool to explore an entire realm of creative practice that extends beyond the physical and perceptual limitations of solely human-level practices. However, by working with complex and delicate materials and tools (e.g., ink and rice paper), I’m operating against the “nature of the machine” seeking for novel and surprising results, and further challenge the way we continue to develop and understand robotic production technology. As a painter and a consumer of art, I wondered, however, if it would be possible to recognize brushstrokes done by a robot in a more complex, generated work. Such questions opened up the terrain for the creation of several groups of works done in series, and expand into space.
How did you make it?
The individual paper works are extracted from a costume made complex of computer-generated particles software (Simulation of a World Overview) according to Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation. Scaled to different sizes, each can be viewed not only as an individual work but also as part of the modular wall installation. I cropped different sections of the master “particle generator” image and translated the data of the individual particles into single brushstrokes (assigning parameters such as, for example, size, length, pressure and speed), before sending it to the robot for the final execution. The video compositions utilize close-up footage he made of the ink and paper interacting as I created the works, offering intriguing temporal perspectives on the material’s response and impact on the act of painting. The final works are spread in the space as sculptural elements; hung from the ceiling inside custom-made oak and glass frames, presenting the fragility of the medium of ink and rice paper from both sides (front and back) making the each stroke visible and inviting the visitors to go for a walk between the individual brushstroke.
Your entry’s specification
*The amount of presented works can be varying according to specific exhibition spaces. Monitors (5) can be various sizes. Double-sided hanging frames, oak and glass (8) various sizes, ca. 54 x 83 cm, 3 kilos. The frames are designed to be hung from the ceiling, and in enteral area, allowing the viewer to walk around them as with sculptural elements. Loose rice paper work for the wall installation (20) various sizes, ca. 50 x 70 cm each. Projector