Synthesizing Old Masters
The subjects of Strata #2 are the gothic windows and architecture of two Parisian cathedrals: Notre Dame and Saint Eustache. The work was commissioned in 2009 by Arcadie and the Festival Némo, which hosted a premiere of the video installation inside the Saint Eustache cathedral. Informed by his experiences growing up in Rome, and spiritually detaching from the city's rich tradition in architecture, the work is rooted in geometry and the iconography of perfection.
Quayola's video installations dwell on the objective details of his subjects: light, form, shape and color. Glorious representations are built, as he temporally treats familiar symbols of the baroque and renaissance periods. Crafting a peculiar distance from his subjects, Quayola's process wanders through the surface of an object, pushing beyond its picture plane. Stripping the objects he explores of their symbolic function, especially in Strata series, Quayola locates this practice within the archaeological process of layering or stratification. A visual metaphor for history, it represents something crafted by the accumulation of signifiers over time, rather than a linear process. The term "strata" refers to a geological formation constructed of multiple layers of rock, where each layer is differentiated from the next through its characteristics: porosity, texture, color, and composition.
Sound design by Mira Calix and Autobam.
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