These digital paintings are hardwired for success – literally

Jonas Lund. miart, Milan, Installation view, Steve Turner, April 2016. All photos courtesy of the artist and Steve Turner, Los Angeles

Earlier this month in Milan, Jonas Lund’s latest research shone through plexiglass panels in the Steve Turner booth at miart fair. Alongside an array of screens showing online content in search of the next trend in the art market and animations playing on outdated LED monitors encased in concrete, Lund’s three illuminated digital paintings have took center stage.

The works were developed with an algorithm that links a work of art to success. Thanks to a set of parameters, the visual content of the piece is optimized for an art fair. In the artist’s words: “This series is based on a neural network that was trained on all my previous works, to outsource the process of creating new works to a semi-intelligent artificial program that ‘thinks’ like me.”

Jonas Lund. New Now 3, 2016. UV printing on plexiglass, metal frame and LED strip

The paintings correspond to Lund’s long-standing concerns. His VIP (viewer enhanced painting) from 2014, tested different compositions and colors while following the viewer’s gaze, ultimately determining the most compelling visual arrangement. That same year, the artist produced a series of oil paintings based on an algorithm that processed the most successful works at a Phillips auction. Previous works such as Paint shopcollaborative art factory and market place, already addressed issues around artistic production and the market.

The work exhibited in Milan deepens the artist’s exploration of optimization practices and aims to offer more questions than answers. “What is an optimized work of art? asks Lund. “A work that is put in place to successfully please everyone, a work that stands out and creates divergent opinions, a work that sells, a work that asks the right questions at the right time, a work that gets 200 likes on Instagram, a job that makes you feel good?

Jonas Lund. miart, Milan, Installation view, Steve Turner, April 2016

There is of course no right or wrong answer. “Through most of my research I have come to the conclusion that there is no formula for determining what constitutes a successful work of art, and that is exactly the magic of a work of art. art – that it is not measurable by typical quantization methods, so the gesture of creating these pieces speaks more to obsessions with optimization by streamlining quantization and a big data-centric way of thinking rather than d trying to find a fixed solution.

Appropriately, the intangible forms within the paintings themselves seem to reflect a certain malleability, an unwillingness to fully mature into a final state. Illuminated by LED frames, they attract nearby onlookers, but retain an air of mystery. Perhaps keeping viewers guessing is one of the keys to success.

Jonas Lund. New Now 2, 2016. UV print on plexiglass, metal frame and LED strip

To learn more about the work of Jonas Lund, Click here.

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Marilyn M. Davis