The current exhibition at Grimm Gallery is the new show from Alex Dordoy entitled "Krast and Caster crack autumn." I missed the opening, unfortunately, but when I finally got in to see the work I appreciated having the space to myself.Grimm is it's own destination, it's a bit off the beaten path and you have to ring a bell to get in. That's all fine and good, but the day I saw this show I wanted to perch myself outside with a sandwich board just to get some more people in to talk about what I saw. Lucky for me, though, Sebastiaan was in and spent a ton of time with me - and in the middle of the art festival craze, that was impressive.
I knew that Dordoy's work was getting me into the realm of digital art - and I have had some problems digesting the role of the digital artist in the past. Lucky for me, the work of Sandra Hanckmann that I saw the weekend of the opening was a good primer - and Dordoy's work brought a whole other dimension to digital in my eyes.
What you're looking at above is a computer virus. Dordoy intentionally allows a digital image to be manipulated by a virus and then transfers that image onto three dimensional plaster. The warps and distortions are aligned with the elevations and depressions of the plaster. What's more , he does it on surfaces like this:
There is no chance at reproductions here, which has always been my hesitancy on digital art - how many of these digital prints will there be? In this case, none... even if images are reused or repurposed, the manual act of transferring toner onto plaster brings the increasing variables of human nature and shaky hands. Not to mention that jesmonite, though durable, is not indestructable. As for the compositions, there is no mystique about the work's digital origins... in the work below you can see the menu bar and the pointer of the digital file.
... and just so you know, this plaster piece curves a way from the wall at the top and is a relief piece as well, the circles at the side are depressions in the plaster and align perfectly with the digital distortions in the print. Here's some detail:
Perfectly suited to this work is the story of Caster Semenya, the "Caster" of the show's title. If you're not familiar with this story, it's fascinating. The drill down is this: Semenya won a gold medal for the 880 meter in the World Championship in 2009 amid a total controversy about her gender. Apparently there was a suspicion that the "she" might be partly a "he" and therefore have a competitive advantage. Before you get confused about all that you may want to read this article in the UK Guardian about sexual ambiguity - as Dr Milton Diamond puts it: "Nature loves variety. Unfortunately, society hates it." And it's exactly that sort of ambiguity that Dordoy's work embraces - this IS digital art but SO denies the purpose of the digital world; fast, archivable and reproducible at the click of a button. Dordoy's work is none of that, which makes it an artistic-bender in the digital world. Here's another example:
This piece is a PAINTING of a digitally rendered file. and done so beautifully. Alex Dordoy, thanks for the nice shift in perspective on digital work. I highly recommend seeing his work before it comes down on the 22nd of June. Grimm is a perfect venue for such a fantastic collection of work.