Performative paintings by david gil

M.I.T. Art Culture and Technology

USA | 2019



At point zero, reality is colorless.

It traces a straight line

from the depth of the universe

to the human eye.

If perception is the process of becoming aware through the senses and reality is the state of things as they actually exist, the gap between the two raises questions about what we know to be true. I am interested in this gap, in its relationship with technology, media, systems of power and human behavior. I am also interested in the research of the men and women of science and art who, through time, have used evolving technologies to help us comprehend it. I strongly believe that the affect of their research is constant change. The effect is ceaselessly evolving contemporary living. As a visual art practitioner, my artwork engages with transdisciplinary artistic mediums, hoping to find some form of universal language, of Newtonian symphony, to bring together, the closest possible, the gap between the perceived and the real.


All things in the universe are brought towards one another. Aristotle (384BC-322BC), Archimedes (288BC-212BC), Vitruvius (80BC-15BC), Galileo (1564-1642), Newton (1643-1727) or Einstein (1879-1955) observed, studied and explained the unavoidable force of nature pulling things and objects towards one another. The weakest of the fundamental forces of physics has no significant influence at subatomic dimensions. However, it is the dominant force at macroscopic scales. Coming from the Latin gravitas meaning weight, gravity, along with space and time, developed 10-43 seconds after the birth of the universe, thus linking it to point zero. Geodesic Paintings are ascribed to Newton’s laws of motion and to the principle of relativity described by Einstein. They are the visual representation of geodesic paths created by freefalling paint moving on the surface of a white canvas pulled in space-time towards the center of earth by the forces of nature. Thus, staging scientific universal reality.


Color Theory II

Geodesic painting uses color, the most persistent quality in nature, to visualize the universal laws which gave birth to visible reality. Indeed, no visible thing is without color. However, color does not exist outside of human perception. In fact, the human brain only perceives color the moment colorless light-waves, attracted by gravity, hit color sensitive photoreceptor cells in the retina. When cones and rods located in our eyes are activated, the optic nerve sends data through neural crossroads connected to the thalamus, the grand central station of sensory information, which is then relayed to the occipital lobe, the primary visual cortex. It is only then that color becomes a physical phenomenon and blues and violets, greens and yellows, reds and oranges materialize in reality; and allow the brain to perceive millions of colors in a sort of additive and subtractive processes. The physiology of perception reveals that the cerebral cortex, responsible for visual processes, retro-feeds visual data coming from outside reality with ten times more synapses that it originally received from the retinal. Evidence that full color perception is connected to our behavioral system, which is sculpted by human development, evolution and culture exposure. Furthermore, confirmation that there is a temporal nanoscale gap between point zero or reality capturing and human perception.


I was inspired by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) who arraigned hues into three irrational power groups: gentle, soft and radiant splendid. Isaac Newton (1643-1727) who established a mathematical correlation between the visible and an octave of frequencies of light or fundamental “spectral” colors that cannot be broken down. Michel Eugene Chevreul (1786-1889) who used a color wheel composed of 72 hues to rationalize the interaction of colors. Johannes Itten (1888-1967) who imagined a color star segmenting color into cool and warm values. Alger Henry Munsell (1858-1918) who expanded the vocabulary of color into a tridimensional system organized by hue, value and chroma. James Clerck Maxwell (1831-1879) who discovered electromagnetism and gave color frequency and wavelength. I opted to create a contemporary color system based on the invention of John Logie Baird (1888-1946), who in 1926 demonstrated the first full color screen system. Like a scientist, I am striving to decode full color screens as a cultural phenomenon currently monopolizing private and public spaces as well as human to human interaction, thus widening the gap between the perceived and the real.


Like an artist, I am withdrawing reality from contemporary screen mediated entropy, re-synching it to universal laws and pulling together perception and reality. I am influenced by immaterial processes intended to deconstruct the vocabulary of art itself, deleting its primal tools and placing the creator outside of the creative process. I am following Georges Seurat (1859-1891) who inspired by Newton fragmented the canvas into all the colors of the spectrum to depict nature using multicolored forms. Bridget Louis Riley (1931) who influenced by Seurat’s pointillism studied Chevreul’s complementary colors as a form of optical science. Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011) who pioneered stain painting using color as subject itself spreading it across the canvas and allowing gravity and chance to create unbroken surfaces to emphasize on actions in favor of forms. Morris Louis (1912-1962) who poured diluted bright pigments on the canvas and let the universal law of attraction impregnate large negative white spaces. Callum Innes (1962) who opts for additive and subtractive un-painting processes where he brushes single colors on the canvas and before they dry, he washes away the paint. Ian Davenport (1966) who relays on the effects of gravity and paint pouring to repeat symmetrical sequences of color stripes. Yves Klein (1928-1962) who used color as a mean to empty art of meaning and the body as painting tool. Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) who experimented with flinging pigments across canvases. Daniel Buren (1938) who interested in the process of making rather than representation challenges traditional ideas of architectural space. Roman Opalka (1931-2011) who gradually lighten his details until they vanished toward infinity. On Kawara (1932-2014) who stripped painting of emotion and reduced it to a series of journals documenting paint mixture formulas, canvas size, color and newspaper headlines, thus grounding art and color on what’s happening in reality.


The reality post covid-19 is that we are headed towards the era of hyper-digitalism dictated by full color digital screens as an alternative platform of reality. Allowing human to computer to human interaction, while at the same time keeping human to human at a distance. Instead of bringing the gap between perception and reality closer together, contemporary digital screen mediated technology seems to be disjointing it. What we see happening on screens is no longer instinctive or visceral. Multiple realities seem to simultaneously co-exist. All of them mediated, curated, color corrected, reframed, stripped of logic, language or universal context. Screen data and full color screen content and imagery may only be an assembly of disembodied pixels; however, their effects in our society are tangible and real. According to Hubert Marshal McLuhan (1911-1980) “Through history, whoever controls the media controls the people … change the media and you change the culture.” In other words, whoever controls the screen controls the future.


Color Theory III

For this reason, as a contemporary artist, I feel the need to propose an experimental chromatic engineering guideline intended to recalibrate the luminance and chrominance of screen reality and to re-synch its liquid-crystal components to universal laws. When time equal zero, color in liquid form is compressed into one initial point, collapsed into a nozzle and loaded to a system of cylindrical reciprocating chambers. The act of painting is mechanically generated by intense linear pressure applied to the system of chambers, which allows the controlled release of color. The effect of gravitation and the inertia of the white canvas act upon the aerodynamic motion of free-falling color. The speed of the paint is proportional to its weight, to the resistance of the canvas and to the acceleration provoked by gravity. The result is a series of one-dimensional straight colored lines created in curved spacetime representing the shortest path between one initial point and the surface of earth. Geodesic painting makes reference to Newton’s octave and mathematically decomposes digital hue, value and chroma. Film captures the creative processes of universal laws in real time and surrenders the viewer to follow the flow of color from zero to the surface of visible reality. Geodesic painting is my very personal artistic proposal hoping to put mathematically chromatic order to today’s screen mediated chaos. Thus, bringing closer together the gap between perception and reality.


Color Theory II

Performing paintings by david gil

Select Art Fair

during Art Basel Miami Beach

USA | 2013

In 2000, the phenomenon of reality tv exploded. One year later, the most televised catastrophes in history took place in a television hooked nation. The United States Department of Justice, defending the interests of the law, declared an Islamic jihad, which Prophet Muhammad defined as a holy warrior at war with himself. Color Theory II was programed to be created during a live performance. Even with a formal permit, the police department canceled the performance.



Performing paintings by david gil

Burst Art Fair Project

during Art Basel Miami Beach

USA | 2011

According to the department of media studies at Rutgets University (New Jersey), in 2001 the phenomenon of reality TV exploded in the United States when the American population watched over 250 billion hours of television that single year; exhibiting five dependency symptoms to television, two more than necessary to be categorized as a clinical substance abuse. Serving as color bars, Color Theory is intended to recalibrate the chrominance and luminescence of the reality screened live by NTSC monitors during the most televised catastrophes in history taking place in a television hooked nation.



Trilogy

Mix media sculpture conceived and curated by david gil

Femmes Héroïques exhibition

at Musée de l’Homme

FRANCE | 2008

With the support of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, I am invited to curate a sculpture honoring the daily engagement of women in the evolution of society. Exposed in the Musée de l’Homme, during the exhibition Femmes Héroïques, Trilogy is a triptych composed of a sculpture in synthetic skin, a network of fingerprint brains, a head made out of stratified glass with laser cut brain, a dress made out of three-dimensional ants, telecommunication roots and a kinetic sculpture measuring time. Collaboration with Olivier Goulet, Marc Gassier, Thomasine Giesecke, Isabelle Tournoud and Didier Legros.



Seven weeks

Blown glass sculpture conceived by david gil

commissioned by the Centre International d’Art Verrier

FRANCE | 2007

Born in 1709, the CIAV (international center of glass art) is an emblematic industrial site based in Meisenthal, France, perpetuating the glass productions of Emile de Gallé, one of the initiators of Art Nouveau. As part its Jeune Pousses (young talents) workshops, the CIAV gives carte blanche to the collective of artists I founded to create Seven Weeks, sculpted question mark made out of blown glass with blowtorch insert in the shape of a human embryo. Collaboration with Thomasine Giesecke.



Bullet proof heart

Stratified glass with laser cut human heart scupture conceived by david gil

Œuvre d’Art Award

by Fédération Français du Verre Plat

20 ans du Musée Exhibition at Musée d’Orsay

FRANCE | 2005

On my 25th birthday, March 20th 2003, officially began the war on terror with the invasion of Iraq by a multilateral force led by the United States and the United Kingdom. Just like 73% of word population, I disapproved the perversity of violence and imagined the Bulletproof Heart as a symbol of my social engagement. Collaboration with Thomasine Giesecke.



Social condom

Latex impermeable skin sculpture conceived by david gil

Sk-Interfaces Exhibition

at Foundation of Art and Creative Technology

during Liverpool European capital of Culture

FRANCE, UK | 2006

Social Condom bears the facial imprints of the artists who collaborate under the collective I founded in 2005. It serves as method of prevention against the infection provoked by the virus of egoism. Social Condom was part of the collective exhibition Sk-interfaces taking place in the F.A.C.T. (Foundation of Art and Creative Technology) during Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture in an experimental art installation. Collaboration with Olivier Goulet.



The muscle of terror

Sterling silver, ebony and ivory sculpture conceived by david gil

Nominated under category Audacity

to the Sommet du Luxe et de la Creation

FRANCE | 2005

The Muscle of Terror was discovered in 1862 when neurologist Duchenne de Boulogne linked the lines of expression of the face to the human soul, thus proving what Darwin referred to as the physiology of emotion. The sculpture is created to amputate from the face those lines of expression resulting from conspicuous consumption: behavior intended to cause the emotion of envy, the most unfortunate aspect of the human soul resulting from an upward social comparison. Collaboration with Arthus Bertrand Jewelers and Marc Gassier.



Network of artists

Founder

FRANCE, USA | 2005 - Today

In 2005, I start a long series of pluridisciplinary artistic projects in collaboration with other contemporary artists coming from different backgrounds and mastering different mediums of expression. As of today, I have collaborated with contemporary dancers Philippe Chéhère and Julie Salgues, performance artists Tara Shea Ananda and Nikki Pike, transmedia artists Olivier Goulet, actress Aurore Tomé; photographer Dominik von Schulthess, sculptors Paul Louis Duranton, Isabelle Tournoud, Didier Legros, Nicolas Babinet, Marc Gassier, Patrice Hubert, Pascale Chauhuu and Thomasine Giesecke, filmmakers Dan Salzmann, Arno Bouchard, Mary Jordan and Vincent Gagliostro; painter Clement Borderie and illustrator Benoît Prévot.