Corruption of memory
Polish-born and London-based artist Konrad Wyrebek speaks about the beauty of imperfection
In his latest work, Data Error Paintings, Wyrebek attempts to build a unique visual grammar to discover the beauty in corrupted and pixelated image, Data Error Paintings are a series of large format abstract 'paintings' using images captured from video footage. Each image is pixelated through a succession of digital compressions with deliberate settings in different softwares. Wyrebek explains that there is a connection between the process and the intensification of abstraction Mondrian's paintings_ During the process, images are destroyed, protected and subsequently retrieved "It is related to my interest in imperfection and deformation "
"I know what I am interested in and I am trying to make that happen_ When you are watching a video online, you can see that sometimes pixelation happens for a second, but I am trying to set the condition to make it happen a bit longer"
Although unintentional, it is possible that one may draw connection in the dialogue of Wyrebek's work with that of Jeff Elrod, whose large-format abstract paintings examine the relationship of mark-makings between the emotional artist's hand and rational technology. Like Wyrebek's previous half flash, half steel 'live sculpture', contrasting elements are brought into play in Data Error Paintings Apart from showing merely elements of abstraction, Wyrebek's paintings also retain the possibility of interference_ They are not simply the product of corrupting process of data, each painting is unique and singular, and each finishing layer is retouched.
The nature of abstract art is always a subject of investigation in Wyrebek's work_ "Can photography be abstract?" he asks_ In his previous work, Plato's Cave, he photographed abstract light in different environments. The photographs look abstract, but they are, nevertheless, a faithful representation of reality_ "It is a presentation of something that looks abstract, but it was an object, a video, a picture"
"I hke the randomness_ When the mistakes come out, for me, they look beautiful_ By enforcing this mistake, they have the potential to become deeper stories than they are_ The mistakes and pixelation eventually end up looking interesting and have the intellectual potential to open the gate to see something different."
There is a certain irony in Wyrebek's abstract paintings, when the details are gone, we are but forced to step back to see a clearer and bigger picture_ As the viewers step back, the boarders of the pixels become invisible, the process of pixelation is being reversed and the seemingly calm, regular and geometrical pixels become chaotic and dynamic. By reducing the superficial meaning, and by abstracting the figurative, artists like Wyrebek's knowingly compel viewers to search for meaning in the art work, to see rather than simply looking.
Perhaps the best way to describe Wyrebek's Data Error Paintings would beas 'the perfection in imperfection.' Like Wyrebek's paintings, our memories are an imperfect recording of the events in our lives_ Recalling them, they can be interrupted, or even corrupted by our emotions and the very imperfect nature of memory itself_ It is through, a different way of seeing: we see the perfection in imperfection. - Timothy Chan for Avenir Magazine