The exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in London, Das New Yorker Atelier, Abridged, presents the body of work produced in the last two years by Wade Guyton. Exploring the digital landscape, Guyton uses imagination and digital instruments in a completely original way to embed the landscape in a new pictorial dimension. Images recorded with everyday technology – captured on a mobile phone, desktop screenshots or scans – are digitally re-worked using Photoshop or Word and printed on materials ‘other’ than those provided for Epson Stylus Pro 9600 inkjet printer, employed for large-formats prints.
Sheets of linen, folded in half, expose the printing process to inevitable machine errors, interruptions, alterations to ink density, image distortion and so on. These induced errors allow the machine to express itself, distorting the algorithm and confronting it with the unexpected which is then materialised on the canvas.
Guyton’s digital landscape also includes the artist’s tools – electronic surfaces with the addition of the instruments used during the printing process. The artist’s studio, which is referenced in the title, becomes itself a material and is constantly present. This is similar to Guyton’s first retrospective in Italy, at the Madre Museum of Naples, where the printed images originated from his residency and close contact with Naples.
The digital landscape, now an integral part of the body’s epidermis and genetics, is represented through its own visual surfaces (the world’s surfaces materialised through images) and mechanics, represented by the functioning of the machine. Electronic surfaces, the surface of the canvas and of the digital landscape reflect one another, leaving fragments behind – «… the world appears here less as a full-fledged presence than an elusive ghost».
The ‘viscosity’ (Morton) of the world and its objects, together with the flux of information, represents a filter, in which ‘reality’ is rediscovered and rendered as close as it is inaccessible. «Standing in front of these works – as Alex Kitnick says in his essay accompanying the exhibition – one is often unsure whether one is encountering a presence or a void, a glow or a fade, a vertical or horizontal surface» (p.16). Printing directly onto the canvas can be a way of representing reality in all its opaqueness and intimacy. Induced errors are a natural feature with all their conflicting multiplicities.
The reality of Guyton’s works extends from the liquid to the physical world, from the studio in which the works are produced to the place exhibiting them and the tools used to produce them. The artist’s book accompanying the exhibition becomes a document-container for the artworks and carries both the exhibition and Guyton’s production well beyond the timeframe of the exhibition itself. The printed edition is treated as a privileged instrument, a tiny jewel – evident in the care taken over the choice of paper, format and essays by art historian and critic Alex Kitnick, and Flame, a collaboration between artists Taslima Ahmed and Manuel Gnam.
Wade Guyton. Das New Yorker Atelier, Abridged, Serpentine Galleries, London, 29.09-08.02.2017
images: (cover 1) Wade Guyton, Installation view, ‘Das New Yorker Atelier, Abridged’ Serpentine Gallery, London (29 September 2017 – 8 February 2018) Courtesy of the artist. Photo: James Campbell (2) Wade Guyton, Untitled, 2016, Epson UltraChrome K3 inkjet on linen, 325 x 275 cm, © Wade Guyton, Courtesy of the artist, Photography: Ron Amstutz (3) Wade Guyton, Untitled, 2016, Epson UltraChrome K3 inkjet on linen, 325 x 275 cm, © Wade Guyton, Courtesy of the artist, Photography: Ron Amstutz (4) Wade Guyton, Untitled, 2016, Epson UltraChrome K3 inkjet on linen, 325 x 275 cm, © Wade Guyton, Courtesy of the artist, Photography: Ron Amstutz (5) Wade Guyton, Untitled, 2015, Epson UltraChrome HDR inkjet on linen, 213.4 x 175.3 cm, © Wade Guyton, Courtesy of the artist, Photography: Ron Amstutz (6) Wade Guyton, Installation view, ‘Das New Yorker Atelier, Abridged’ Serpentine Gallery, London (29 September 2017 – 8 February 2018). Courtesy of the artist. Photo: James Campbell