2F Artist： Zeno Chen / The Donnée-Painting
Curator: Jian Li-Ting; The Donnée‐Painting
Painting is one of the ancient creating forms. With the progression of measurement, material technology and development of human thoughts, many theories on professional skills and knowledge have been proposed. Especially the “easel painting” system from Renaissance, this system indicates the high manipulative attribute of paintings. Thus, a well-trained, skillful artist can always precisely control painting effects.
However, artists also notice the value of contingency and something beyond control. In fact, accidents are almost unavoidable when artists create works. Effects of contingency not only emerge from physical characteristics of materials (textures, brushworks and water absorbency etc.), notably, they also become working indications. For example, artists put foreign objects in works, adopt specific orders in working process, or even include audience’s attendance, which transforming the essence of work by handing out a part of dominance. These concepts can be concluded into two painting contexts: collage and automatism. And this also provides us some clues to discuss Zeno Chen’s works. Although he uses digital media in his works, his creating concepts directly relate to painting. Thus, digital images is the very tool for contemplating painting and the donnée condition of painting in here.
Therefore, we can call his creating mode as “the donnée-painting”. Just as canvases and colors are prerequisites of easel painting; in Zeno Chen’s creating process, digital images and editing software provide certain working conditions. Within these conditions, the cardinal concept is “layers”. He primarily takes numerous photos, then overlaps these photos, adjusts transparency, color levels, lightness, saturation, contrast of every layer and image arrangements in image processing software.
Additionally, Zeno Chen intentionally tells his works apart from traditional photography. He does not capture immediate effects at the snapshot moment. Also, his after works are not for composing a narrative image. Thus, he does not need to remove backgrounds or cut out for specific figures. He just overlaps images and adjusts colors. After overlapping, these images become unrecognizable and figures become fragmental. Despite these works does not totally get rid of photo’s “that-has-been” quality, but their subjects become more obscure, veiling under the painting manipulation.
These interest and thoughts on media are similar to experiments of photograph plates in darkroom. Nevertheless, the logical difference between digital processing and dark room’s images just derives from material distinction. From dark room to digital calculation, pictorial variations no longer depend on chemistries or manual practices, but come from modulation of every single parameter in image processing software. This change also undermines the material foundation of image production. And thus, image becomes a pure visual production. In other words, Zeno Chen’s working process reveals a kind of visual game—images and the order of overlapping adjustment are donnée conditions in the game whose interest lies in confrontations of image layers and the following ideas.
1F Artist： Fan Chia‐En / World Fabrication
Curator：Zheng Sian-Yun & Jian Li-Ting
To define sensational perceptions of exterior world and to leave physical orders or psychological feelings on canvases are Fan Jia-En’s observations of contemporary digital world. His painting occurs in the interactions between minds and technologies. And this process itself is the mirror of interweaving between digital encodings and psychological selections.
Fan Jia-En’s special working practice contains the process of fabricating the world. He firstly collects data via the Internet and creating an image database. When creating his works, he chooses proper data from the database and randomly combines, collages or uses some filters on them. Processed by filters, these images becomes fractals with disturbances. After this step, the digital intervene finishes. Then, using analogous method, this manuscript made from digital materials and composed by computer calculations was painted on canvas by the artist. And this opens several issues:
First of all, “digital” here is not the form of work, but the theme which Fan usually manages to capture. He does not deal with the arrangement of the digital essence (such as 0 and 1 combination of binary system), but pays more attention on the visual images associated with “digital.” For example, in the step of data collection, he often used “digital” as the searching word, and thus found some dazzling, technological images. Apparently, these images does not reflect the digital essence, but human imaginations to digital.
Second, Fan’s works demonstrate some open attitude. He manages to reduce controls to works, leaving some aspects for occasions. On one hand, he used amounts of pictures searched from the Internet. On the other hand, the image process also made many incidental effects. He also used filters in software. These functions are originally for modeling some visual experiences, while after over and repetitious accumulations, the origin images were rather decomposed and broke into many fractals and disturbances. Filters thus were not able to mimic any visual experience, but help to demonstrate traces after digital calculations and create a new, foreign visual experience. Therefore, we cannot use traditional principles to see Fan’s works because his images are not arrangements totally followed by plans but the natural outcome after a special working process.
Third, Fan’s work also refers to the transformation from digital to analog. Although digital calculation is a dispensable step, but the final representation is depicted from analog and digital images and thus becomes concrete subjects, changing the state of work’s existence. From Nelson Goodman’s (1906-98) perspective, this change is the transformation from allography to autography. Having its own signal system, allography only requires to maintain the sameness of spelling that can show as plurality. While autography does not have its own signal system, thus the state of work’s existence always connects with its physical attributes.
Visual imagination, occasional random and “mind-object” together constitute the three attributes of Fan Jia-En’s post-painting. Fragmental, decomposed, full of fluorescent colors and geometric figures, his paintings create the seeming virtual but incomparable real world projected by the artist’s consciousness and sensation.