Gonzalo Reyes Araos …sky is falling asleep on the desk of the time…
March 16 – April 28, 2023
GALERIE Peter Gaugy is pleased to present “….sky is falling asleep on the desk of the time…” a solo exhibition by Chilean artist Gonzalo Reyes Araos. Having recently returned to Berlin after a year of research in the Atacama desert in northern Chile, the title of the exhibition was created by a series of predictive text prompts that was generated by AI from his past correspondence. The exhibition, which runs from March 16 to April 28, 2023, delves into how we are increasingly replacing our natural biological world with an electronic simulacrum.
The exhibition explores the way in which we perceive images, their interpretation, and representativeness through various forms of image production, including texts, digital code alteration, interactive paintings, and poetry generated by Artificial Intelligence. In today’s world, digital communication has made binary code a metaphor for the universe, an architectural structure in which much of human interaction resides. As such, we are in a transitional stage towards a new ecosystem, one that ceaselessly strives to mimic our current biological environment.
Key works in the exhibition are the “Bitmap Poemarium” series. Taking inspiration from Marshall McLuhan’s idea that electronic technologies can be extensions of our body and senses and media represents our central nervous system. In a nod to the Surrealist’s “automatic writing,” the artist has created a form of poetry by limiting his composition to the predictive text prompts suggested by his phone. Then each of these English words is introduced into the code of a white image of 10 x 10 pixels to create a bitmap. Interpreting each word as if it were a color code, the computer creates a grid that Is ‘readable’ to the human eye.
The “Puzzle Paintings” series is the artist’s attempt to bring these Bitmap Poemarium to the physical world by materializing color, pixels, and compositions into puzzle format paintings. The viewer can change the composition of the image by manipulating the pieces of color, in a sense ‘democratizing’ the picture.
The colors of these paintings are inspired by the digital interpretation of words by the hexadecimal system of RGB. As each colored tile represents a word from a poem, by physically changing the position of the piece the viewer can hence alter the code or the meaning of the poem.
On the back wall of the main exhibition room will be a large piece titled “Ay la hoy’ri peni cachii li cielo,” which honors the indigenous Atacameño culture’s belief that volcanoes or TataMallkus are a binding bridge between heaven and earth. The work recreates the image of the Andrean Paniri volcano in Ascii mode, where a pixel of the image is replaced by a text character, the text being a visual equivalent in greyscale.
The characters used to form this image were determined according to the phrase “Ay la hoy’ri peni cachii li cielo,” which in the recently extinct Kunza language meant “So on earth as in heaven,” a biblical phrase belonging to the prayer “Padre Nuestro” introduced from Catholicism into the Atacameño culture during the Spanish colonization. The dormant Paniri volcano is not classified as extinct, but rather potentially active, which is also how the Kunza language should be considered.
The Atacameño culture views the night sky as a vital light source in the desert, with constellations seen as shapes in the dark areas of the sky, unlike Western culture that perceives them as groups of stars. This perspective has inspired the “Black Constellation” series of paintings featuring monochromatic three-color lines subject to a cutting and gluing process, which creates black shapes revealing the painting’s background, with the lack of information generating the image’s composition.
The paintings employ CMYK or CGA colors, similar to the method used by screens and printers to create images. The paintings’ aesthetic draws from the Atacama culture’s unique perspective on the night sky, emphasizing the creative potential of the absence of information.
The exhibition poses the question of to what extent we recognize ourselves today in a natural ecosystem considering the time we spend in an artificially created electronic environment.
The exhibition “…sky is falling asleep on the desk of the time…” runs from March 16 to April 28, 2023 at GALERIE Peter Gaugy in Vienna, Austria.
Bitmap Poemarium by Gonzalo Reyes Araos
Book Launch and Artist Talk
April 13, 2023, 6pm
Held in conjunction with the exhibition “…sky is falling asleep on the desk of the time…” was an artist talk and the launch activity of the publication “BITMAP POEMARIUM”. This is an artist’s book that brings together a collection of 33 conceptual poems. In a nod to the Surrealist’s “automatic writing,” practices of the early 20th century, the artist has created a form of poetry by limiting his composition to the predictive text prompts suggested by his phone. Drawing on ideas cited by the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan, the artist believes that over time, the use of his mobile phone has made it an extension of his own neural system and that therefore, part of his own subconscious resides in the memory of the electronic device. The poems were transformed into a “bitmap” code, to make the computer interpret each word as a colour code. These images go along with the poems, while the viewer is able to read the inside and outside of a digital image.