Untitled, 2013 – 2017
Ash wood veneered on birch plywood on steel structure
© 2014, Guyton\Walker
Image copyright Stefan AltenburgerThings are taken from the real world and fed into the computer, where they are then processed, shaped, and, finally, applied to a different material. The digital is a transitional space. – Wade Guyton
With digitization, pictures have become nomads. They are made primarily to be shared, sent and spread. And once a picture has been sent, it is rarely looked at again. Pictures wander around, they pass through channels, they are on the move. And in the process they sometimes become attached to a screen, a sheet of paper or a canvas. Then they may find themselves in a book or projected onto a screen. Or on a rug and a table. Guyton\Walker, a joint project by New York artists Wade Guyton and Kelley Walker whose art-making tools are flatbed image scanners and desktop computer image manipulators, is deliberately playing with this kind of supposedly “digital” aesthetic. Colour saturation levels and image scale are altered. Elements are multiplied and repeated to further up the visual volume. For Swiss Re Next, Guyton\Walker chose a single digital image and then edited, cropped and translated it into different materials to create a kind of visual grammar. The striped pattern, sometimes broken up by streaks resembling digital errors, is from the early period of Guyton\Walker in the mid-2000s. “This image has been circulating through the work for a while,” says Guyton: “It shows a stripe we printed on a can of paint. We then put it on a scanner and then processed it again in Photoshop. The result is a series of rugs and matching tables. One set of images appears on a particular rug and matching table, while different croppings are transferred to others. The fact that this motif has now been woven by hand at a workshop in the Indian city of Jaipur, based on a digital file, almost literally one knot per pixel, is another step in this long and potentially endless sequence of processing steps. To take this thought a step further, these images have then been printed to the matching tops and bottoms of the tables and they approach this in quite a pragmatic way. Once it was clear where the rugs would be positioned and where the tables were planned, Guyton\Walker simply cut out the pattern from the rugs and raised it slightly as a table. “I always dealt with the building from a bird’s eye view,” says Guyton. “I reduced it to flat surface, viewing it in two dimensions.” Looked at like this, a table is then a three-dimensional raised section of a picture. In this light, the picture not only superimposes itself over the rug like a skin, but actually covers the architecture itself and its furnishings.