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Cortright & Kusama

 

A part of CFHILL's Ten by Ten, 2018

 

Petra Cortright

Nam June Paik is often called the pioneer of video art, and his sculptural film installations took the stage in the early 60s. Since then, video art has become a matter of course, both in museums and in galleries. Today, instead, we speak of Internet art. This phenomenon has been around for about 15 years, and remains fairly unfamiliar to most people. Petra Cortight (b. 1986) is one of the first artists to win a large audience with computer-generated art over these last few years. And perhaps this artistic field needs an artist like her to achieve a true breakthrough into the mainstream; somebody who is a member of the very first generation of Internet users, and who can barely remember the time before it. Not to mention, born and raised in the blessed land of high tech: California! Petra Cortight generates her images by hovering around on the Internet in search of pictures, gifs, games, pornography, and lots of other stuff, and then blending and sampling her findings in her own unique way. Here’s how she describes it herself:

“It’s about bringing digital objects into physical space. On-screen, things are so different, because they are in that small format. But when you enlarge it, everything changes. That kind of transformation interests me. Digital work is flexible, it can be morphed in so many ways. It could be a print, or a video.”

Petra Cortight’s working methods, just like those of the modernists over a century ago, have caused some headaches and strong reactions. Just like when the art world asked itself if Duchamp’s’ Fountain, from 1917, could really be considered art, the sceptics of our time are once again scratching their heads in the face of a new, cannibalistic and binary technology that’s claiming auteurhood. We really ought to know better by know.

CFHILL is proud to be presenting an important triptych by this artist. And while Celebrity addresses/fifi firing tour squad may be composed of a myriad of algorithms and manipulations, it’s really no less beautiful than Monet’s water lilies.

Yayoi Kusama

Many art experts make the claim that Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929) is the most important artist working today. Her original, enchanting, and multi-faceted oeuvre has won over the whole world by now.

A strange bird, different from both the conservative Japanese family she grew up in and the people she encountered in the US in the late 50s, she came to be one of the individuals who did the most to enrich and transform the American avant garde and early performance art. Few artists have possessed this ability to captivate an audience within the staggering experience of losing your footing and letting go. Her mental spaces filled with dots, repetitive hallucinatory patterns, light shows and mirrors, address not only the artist’s own experiences and traumas, but also broader human concerns. This unique idiom based on repetition might be described as a blessed fusion of Japanese art and the dawning American pop art movement. Kusama made her first “infinity nets” back in 1959. These are canvases of various sizes, covered with repetitive patterns that go on forever, beyond the canvas, in an imaginary world that has no end and no beginning.

Dinosaur's village is executed in warm earthy colours, with playful, folkloristic braids presenting a dazzling display reminiscent of colourful African fabrics. The title of the work also brings to mind scientific models of ground sediment, the various layers of which house the dusty remains of lives lived long before our time. Chains of prehistoric life forms, forever linked. There is a spiritual idea here of the dissolution of the individual, of the ego, into the great whole that is portrayed by the painting. It connects order to chaos–a connection that is, in a broader sense, just as relevant to Kusama’s biography as it is to her oeuvre.