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May
28
2004
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webpaintings 1998 -2004

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POSTED BY: Valery Grancher | Fri May 28th, 2004 7:11 a.m.

If you look art history and how it is dealing with paintings, you can perceive that the main topic is always the subject painted on canvas: From Giotto to today. Paintings has dealt with physical subject, dealt with sometimes narration or no narration, and has interacted with other media like photography or with just its materiality and iconology...
For artist from my generation, we grew up with video games and computers. The first iconology I perceived were icons from interface and software. The screen has defined a new window and has killed the camera obscura. The screen is not reflecting and difracting the light like pigment but is generating electronic light. So today how to paint something ? The skill doesn't matter. The main topic is to paint something that nobody painted before you (Miltos Manetas (1)). And in my case, I would like to add: to paint something by defining a new iconoly (painting semiology)...
Some peoples from my art public were surprised on 1998 to see that a conceptual artist like me who was one of the first to use internet media on 1994, 4 years later during the time when Net Art was really the most successfull art practice, is taking brush to produce images on canvas !
I would say that I always perceived internet as a dynamic process, a network space where nothing may be freezed. Internet is dealing with new concept of time and space, and is defining on another way human identity and phenomenolgy. Net art is a process.This media has evolved from 1998 until today to a huge market where we cannot find any TAZ (Hakim Bey (2)) like on 1994 when net art was conceived! The web and internet is today a space where branding icons are bringing a new kind of consumerism (the hyperconsumerism) where also language may be commercialized ("google adwords", C. Bruno (3)) , a new kind of 'pop' with its visual signs, logo, VIP and so on, so on...
Like Vuk Cosik (the father of net art) is saying, NET ART IS DEAD ! (4) it is dead because the context where net art was produced doesn't exist anymore...
But on the other I still think that some art form would and will be produced in interactions with Internet, but we cannot call it 'net art' anymore ! I do and I will also...
But at the same time I decided to jump into the most 'prestigious', 'serious', 'outdated' and 'unpolitically correct' media on an ironical way: 'Paintings' ! Many artist came from paintings to net art by using on the screen the paintings iconology and metaphor (5), in my case I felt clearly that the only thing to do was to reverse the process:
How should be paintings during internet time ? How to use computer iconology in paintings ?
I think quite differently than some painters of my generation: I said that we should paint something which was never painted before... that is true... but painting is also a language and is not dealing with just images and subject and that's why I'm talking about iconology. I deeply think that the only way to paint a painting in our internet time should not be to paint computers objects (still life) but what computers has brought in our reality theater, to paint what computer technology has changed in our way of seeing. That's why I choosed to paint website screen, computer screen, computer codes. By doing this, I try to show that the computer iconology is changing all the time and paintings are perfect Flat Dead Things which are freezing the topics painted. The result is that the paintings produced are always reflecting dead icons: The design of the website are changing all the time, the software are changing also, and this is the same for the codes...
Otherwise, I would say that the internet screen are little bit like landscape and still life. These pictures are osbsolete, and were used so much that we cannot define anything specific, but at the same we are always fascinated by them. This is like a sunset, this is a stupid and very kitsch 'cliche', but all the time by facing this natural phenomenon we are always fascinated because a specific and undefined detail inside this phenomenon is catching us: Miltos Manetas is calling it "Neen"(6).
I will finish by saying that this is the first time in history that human is consuming language and iconology like daily products:
I defined my own way of seeing by being confronted to my generation computer iconology, but my son will get another way of seeing by being confronted to other technologies iconology.
We jumped from the 'nature' phenomenology based on nature perception to cyber-phenomenology based on technologies interactions with our perception .

Notes:
1-Miltos Manetas "Photoshop and real brushes"
2-Hakim Bey "TAZ" english version; "TAZ" french version.
3-Christophe Bruno "Google adwords"
4-Vuk Cosik "Net Art per se"
5-Miltos Manetas "Jackson Pollock"; Mark Napier "Potatoland"; Mai Ueda "Philosophy in the bedroom", Carlo Zanni "Ebay landscape"...
6- "Neen"

Valery Grancher 1998 - 2004