Digital Subversions Part 1 was an exhibition held at Wimbledon College of Art on monday 5th March 2012. It showcased the works of three artists who each take an interest in the internet and digital technologies as a mediator of social and aesthetical relationships. The following is taken from the show’s official press release:
Exhibition: Digital Subversions [Part 1]
Monday 5th March 2012
The exhibition is the first part in a two stage display of art works by the artists Debra Singh, Kelise Franclemont and Dominic Head, located in the Painting Seminar Room at Wimbledon College of Art.
The artists’ practices regard the internet as a rupture in the nature of aesthetical and social discourse through the mediation of the fine arts.
Debra Singh’s practice revolves around the phenomenon of social media, and how our total immersion in its aesthetic is reshaping the very nature of social interaction. Translating into paint digital images of individuals posing in online chat-room situations the artist would appear to preserve them as fragmented entities in a wider contingent. She offers them to us as a landscape of faces behind an encasing, and distancing, glass panel as would a computer screen. Singh’s use of drawing allows her, as she says, ‘to bridge this inevitable physical gap between the virtual and the physical state’.
Kelise Franclemont’s practice expresses the predicament of art in the digital age through a witty manipulation of canonical works of art using the tools available to digital technologies. Internet Killed the Gallery Star (2012) is a subversion of Da Vinci’s iconic Mona Lisa, displayed at the Louvre Gallery, Paris, whereby the figure is morphed, rotated and stretched to appear as a corruption of already broken data streams. Franclemont reduces the size of the portrait to that of a postcard, embellishing it with a frame that one would consider kitsch, given the content and context of the piece. She asks us to consider the relationship between canonical works of art and exclusivity, and points to notions of ubiquity in the understanding of ‘high art’.
Dominic Head’s latest work is an investigation into the role that the search engine plays in our forming of stereotypes through the materiality of images. The term ‘woman’ has become an ideologically motivated term used to subjugate a certain democratic to the will of existing power structures. Digital technologies and the mass media have become instrumental in the shaping of these identities of subjection, most profoundly by their ready ability to issue the world according to a series of images. Head exhibits a triptych of the first three images that appear on Google image search when one types in ‘Woman’, whilst translating these into paintings that he subsequently projects onto the wall, invoking the spectacle of the mass media.