Before visiting an exhibition, we look at installation photos or artists’ works on our smartphones, upholding and perpetuating the continuous cycle of images and their content. As reproductions in the digital space, artworks and exhibitions go further than they ever could with their physical presence.
The technological development of the internet has intensified the mediation of images to an unprecedented level, where we act as mediators, consumers, and (re)creators of images and content. In this new process of mediation, we, the viewers, content sharers, and creators, become both recipients and producers in a constant circulation of images. This change in the history of media has left a decisive mark on our culture, replacing the rigidity of materials with a series of flexible interactions on the basis of which we can understand our actions as new forms of mediation.
The exhibition will present the work of a current international art trend, an online and contemporary art community of Generation Y artists from the UK, Germany, Serbia, and Hungary, independent of geographical constraints. Intimately connected to both the material and virtual universes, Generation Y, also known as millennials, has grown into the world of the internet and social media, which has brought about significant changes in their perception of the world.
The process if new mediations happening through the internet and social media is part of the process of turning the reproduction of these artworks into content. As media scholar Kate Eichron puts it, content “sometimes conveys information, tells a story, or entertains but it doesn’t need to do any of these things to circulate effectively”. In her understanding, content and thus the reproduction of artworks has shifted cultural production away from material and aesthetic categories towards a strictly market-oriented approach which often disregards the form, medium, and genre of the artwork.
The rare opportunity to physically encounter these artworks in an exhibition, to see the form and medium of the objects, allows us to break the cycle of content creation. Through their work, the artists have transformed their impressions from the two-dimensional screen into crafted and designed works of art. They work in a variety of genres, using predominantly analogue techniques, but they seek their web of reference in the aesthetics of the internet, in the virtual reality that underpins their everyday existence. They plan and craft their paintings, objects, and sculptures using both digital and manual tools, with a keen eye for detail. Many of them reveal the process of creation on the surface of their works, leaving behind subtle, personal traces. Others play with the flaws in their work or create unusual parallels between images.
The artists’ attention to detail creates a strong and heterogenous visual profile for the works, which at first glance makes it difficult to access their deeper subject matter. But the artists go beyond directly referencing the internet itself. Their approaches are varied; Nemes, Dunkelberg and Freiwald look back to modernist tendencies of deconstruction, exploring the relationship between negative and positive space, Scheer, Batykó, Beck and Birds of Cool are pushing the boundaries of painting and object making. Epp and Djodjevic connect to postmodernist approaches using simple signifiers to tell a story through simple and humorous images. Pearce and Fallon are creating objects that would not otherwise exist, while Keresztesi is making montages that combine the aesthetic elements of the past to convey new meaning. Finally, Holze directly addresses the way the culture industry attempts to turn classical artworks into content.
A new international exhibition at the MODEM Centre for Modern and Contemporary Art offers an insight into the diverse and personal exploration of the aesthetics of the internet through the work of twelve contemporary artists and a group of four artists, creating new images and forms that break free from the rigidity of materials and give further space to the mediation between the real and the virtual.
Exhibiting artists: Batykó Róbert, Arno Beck, Birds of Cool (Gresa Márton, Kármán Dániel, Németh László [Laca], Radvánszki Levente), Maja Djordjevic, Hanna Sophie Dunkelberg, Oli Epp, Liam Fallon, Tim Freiwald, Christian Holze, Keresztesi Botond, Nemes Márton, Harrison Pearce, Aaron Scheer
Curator: Török Krisztián Gábor
Visual identity: Sassné Döme Melinda