Liu Xiaodong: Weight of Insomnia
London, 25 January – 2 March 2019
Lisson Gallery is pleased to welcome Liu Xiaodong’s second exhibition, which is the culmination of a number of years spent developing a technologically radical project to create 21st-century landscape paintings using robotic arms and surveillance cameras. Taking a live feed, streaming data and imagery from an iconic London location above Trafalgar Square, Liu has created a painting machine to process this rolling image feed and transcribe the ever-changing flow of people into a complex network of abstract marks on canvas – resulting in a machine-manufactured painting at the exhibition’s finissage.
Since 2015, Liu has been working on this series, collectively entitled Weight of Insomnia, produced with the expertise of (among others) Fito Segrera, an artist, technologist and Head of Research/Creation at the Chronus Art Center in Shanghai, where the first paintings appeared in a show curated by Liu’s long-time collaborator and friend, Zhang Ga – after which it toured to ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art in Karlsruhe (2016) and the Nam June Paik Art Center in Seoul (2018). There they built a scaffolding tower on to which is mounted a plain canvas and a robotic brush held aloft by a network of wires that pull and push the pigment across the surface, dependent on the images being fed through the computers and screens stationed below. Far from a jerky, machinic gesture, Liu sought a painterly sensibility in his digital proxy, albeit one he has no further control over apart from choosing the location and paint colour. So far the painting machine has been trained on intersections and busy byways, capturing vehicles, pedestrians and changing weather conditions in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Jincheng, Gwangju, Berlin, Karlsruhe, Sydney and now, London.Read more
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