This exciting trio made art history by selling the first AI portrait “Edmond de Bellamy” from the Bellamy series for $432,000 at Christie's New York auction in 2018, and they have since made a name for themselves as the pioneers in this field. Paris-based Lebenson Gallery and London-based visual effects company Time Based Arts are collaborating to bring Obvious to their new London studio from 19 March - 1 April 2020.
The show will combine pieces from their Japanese series “Electric Dreams of Ukiyo” and include a worldwide preview of their new work. Using the GAN algorithm, Obvious has succeeded to merge technology and art, giving a radical new face to previously unseen digital code.
Whether it’s presented as a new generation of ancient portraits, as the features of Japanese ancestral characters and landscapes, or capturing the essence of traditional African masks, Obvious presents a different perspective never before seen in the art world. Their work emits a voice from another dimension, giving binary matter a human form. It’s almost like a battle between digital matter and the figurative state. Finding this balance becomes their final art creation. Always wanting to push the boundaries, they combine new technology with ancient production skills, such as the Japanese art of printing in Japan or mask sculptors in Ghana.
As their manifesto states, they believe some of the work in AI and Art raises philosophical as well as societal questions. Is an algorithm capable of creativity? This question has risen many times since computers have been created, but this time, with algorithms like GANs, it takes it a step further.
Many questions are also raised in the field of Art. In contemporary art, the artist has always been at the centre of the work, and the tool as a way for him to express, and pass on emotions. Here, the tool is closer to the center of the work, even though the artist behind the algorithm remains the “real” artist. The intention and inspiration comes from the human who designed and used the algorithm. Hence the collaboration between human and machine has never been so close.