Synthesizing Old Masters
The subject of Quayola's Iconographies #20 series is Peter Paul Rubens's The Tiger Hunt. This series of work by Quayola features 17 photographs that are computationally derived based on his observation of the original Rubens painting, located at Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes in France (and originally situated in the old Schleissheim Palace in Munich).
In the Iconographies series, familiar symbols of the Baroque and Renaissance periods are treated. Historic imagery is translated into abstract compositions based on a set of computational instructions - allowing the original to be rediscovered from a new perspective. Religious and mythological scenes are transformed into a complex structural lattice, as Quayola builds new and glorious representations of landmark cultural touchstones.
Quayola's composition takes the 1615-16 Rubens painting as its source material, and proposes alternative versions of the original painting, based on its picture data. Through a removal of The Tiger Hunt's iconographic narrative, the fierce struggle between man and beast is separated from its original context. An entirely new object of contemplation is built. “My interest lies in the linguistic differences between an original and an algorithmic representation,” says Quayola. “The complete detachment from historical narratives achieved through computer-vision and abstraction, allowing for a new and unexplored point of view. The focus is on the pure visual coordinates of the painting, and not its inherited subject matter”.
Quayola's artistic practice often explores how we look at original masterpieces and collections - particularly the tension that exists between primary experience and a mediated viewpoint. From this perspective, he dwells on the objective details of his subjects: light, form, shape and color. Crafting a peculiar distance from his subjects, Quayola's process wanders through the surface of an object, pushing beyond its picture plane.
Multimedia artist Quayola uses video, computer software, and installation to explore the tension between real and artificial spaces and surfaces. His works include animated hybrid paintings and sculptures, time-based digital sculptures, and immersive audiovisual installations. In digital paintings such as Topologies (2010), which examines the relationship between contemporary digital aesthetics and iconic works of art and architecture (and forms part of the artist’s “Strata” series), Quayola took paintings by Diego Velázquez and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and transformed their surfaces into animated geometric forms. “As I work,” Quayola has said, “I start to become incredibly fascinated by the underlying shapes.”
Italian, b. 1982, Rome, Italy, based in London, United Kingdom