Simon Ingram: Boing Boom Tschak, Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand


February 3-25, 2009

In Boing Boom Tschak, Simon Ingram draws together two parallel lines of inquiry with the resulting works exhibiting an intriguing painterly dialogue. The exhibition includes paintings that the artist has created by hand according to simple sets of machine like rules i.e. the ‘artist as machine’. Juxtaposed alongside these are self-making painting machines, developed and constructed by Ingram i.e. the ‘machine as artist’. Both procedures generate exquisite painterly monochromatic compositions, whether machine or man-made. Ingram’s focus is on a dialogue of mechanistic and automatic practices embedded in the gritty material fact of painting. Though the works have roots in Concrete Art and Abstraction, they open up a conversation with artificial life and the idea that matter, the matter of painting, develops its own vocabularies of thought and self organisation. Ingram’s work also draws on the history of the machine in art as an apparatus of autonomous creativity, and in so doing calls into question the traditional assumption of the artist as creative genius. In Boing, Boom, Tschak, Ingram does so with vigour, subtle irony and compassion.

Simon Ingram’s work interprets the modernist practice of the autonomous, self-made artwork in relation to painting as a constructional and computationally based self-organising system. His practice articulates itself in three distinct lines of work: machines made from Lego robotics and generic constructional materials that paint autonomously in oil paint with a brush; paintings made by the artist that use artificial life systems as a method to govern composition decision making; and video work related to the production of self-making painting machines. Drawing on divergent strands of knowledge (artificial life, painting, critical theory, software), Simon Ingram’s project re-stages and reinvents painting as a critical, contemporary project that explores painting’s conceptual signification while remaining resolutely fabricational.