November 29, 2017

Fine Art In The Digital Age

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28.11.2017, by Johanna Klemm


Fine art goes many ways and so does technology

Art vs Technologie. BOOOORING. Ok, back up. Is it really? Sure, fine art itself might not be your everyday topic, but our Technology, our Social Media formats, Television, and any other innovative products we are now finding on the market to be the dominant way of showcasing any creative process really do eventually go back to one thing: men’s handcraft and ideas. As Rachel Sommers already pointed out in her article ‘Technology’s Impact On The Arts’,  The Art World is moving towards a massive change only by having 3D print being introduced to the stage. Game Developer and Programmer Mick Derks had also been taken on this challenge and came to create a 3D-printed vase shroud at The Creative Lab. Additionally, he has shared his experience on his blog.

Painting ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’ made by Pablo Picasso in 1907

Looking back to the initial handcraft of the fine art

The question is: do we even have to specify in art, technology, media or any of the kind? What if the key to great technology is great handcraft and vice versa? Moving forward with time might just be the number one ingredient to this progress in media, technology and the arts. An open mind and the drive to go through with new ideas never hurt anybody, clearly. Pablo Picasso’s ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’, created in 1907, had come as some sort of a shock for many at the time and pushed the Artworld into a completely new Era: Cubism and Modern Art. Today, we have become used to seeing forms and figures being pulled apart from each other on a canvas and are are no longer overreacting by the look at a 3D-printed vase shroud of Mick Derks.

Implementing technology into paintings

Pablo Picasso has not been the last thinking and working ahead throughout his entire life, as German visual artist Gerhard Richter is doing just the same today. Richter seems to share one grand ability with Picasso, I would argue: the consistency in moving forward with time and applying knowledge and handcraft to what is new out there. Not to show off with his handcraft, I would argue myself. Painting off photographs, Richter specifically acknowledged another medium and chose to imply it to his own art. Why would a painter do this? Because photographs, as he stated in an interview with Christine Vielhaber in 1986 [1] “…make a terrific variety of statements and have great substance. That is what I wanted to convey to paintings and apply to it”. Fact is, both the original photograph and the painting tell a story and Richter seems to be very aware of this. His painting ‘Betty , a portrait of his daughter, is the remarkable indication of how the sudden moment of a picture taken would collide perfectly with the idea of a portrait. With Betty’s back towards the viewer, one does not exactly feel being watched, but rather being present in a short moment of a photograph being taken. And yet, it is a still and a portrait. Painting off photographs and images, blurring it – it is a thought quite simple. But by pushing this thought further and executing the idea into a string of work within his own medium of fine art, Gerhard Richter created an undeniable identity for himself as a visual artist. Technology did of course push the artist further and in 2012, Richter created a series of digital prints, simply known as ‘Strips’ . As Peter Schjeldahl   states nicely in his article ‘All Stripes’ – „They  invite us to contemplate handmade painting’s faltering state in an age of arrogant visual technologies.”

Why the arts should remain a solid ground for media and technology

Fine artist or not: With countless individuals making a living by showcasing creative content on Social Media these days, art can be experienced in multiple ways and the opportunities seem endless. Nevertheless. It shall never hurt to look back to the original handcraft and knowledge of those who figured that art and its history remains a fundamental base for every creative process and innovation on the market today. The question is: do we stick to what we already know only because it is the safest bet – or do we successfully move forward from there?

Gerhard Richter: Text. Writings, 
Interviews and Letters 1961 - 2007,
Thames & Hudson, London, 2009, p. 189

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