SAINT-PAUL-DE-VENCE.- Robot Paintings, Sud de la France, features over twenty five works created by programmed robotics. Continuing on their interest of combining modern techniques to classical ideas, British artistic duo Rob and Nick Carter have programmed a six-axis Kuka Robot, which they named Heidi, to paint works that mimic old masters and artistic icons to extreme likeness.
Known for their creative and inquisitive engagement with digital technologies, Rob and Nick Carter have worked with a team of advanced software programmers and visual effects specialists to program a robotic arm to create their most groundbreaking works. For this exhibition, they continued their interest in using AI and Robotics as artistic tools. They worked with Heidi to create a series of new works in homage to the modern masters who worked in and around the area of Saint-Paul de Vence and were known for their use of contemporary innovation.
For part of the exhibition, the artists have created a series of Robot Paintings in color, which feature mirror-image diptychs drawn from local scenes in Saint-Paul de Vence. These works were directly inspired by the couples journey in and around the area and reflect, quite literally, the way in which Marc Chagall (1887-1985) and other artists created edition prints from etchings. Following in the footsteps of the late modern masters, Rob and Nick consciously chose still life and landscapes scenes inspired by their visit: from a view of the pool at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, to a close up of oranges in a grove of orange trees. They began their process by taking photographs of the area during their residency with De Buck in 2022. Then, working with their custom-built robotic arm and a team of cutting-edge software programmers, the artists have turned the images into painterly scenes of acrylics on board.
Rob and Nick Carter have also included six nearly-identical robot paintings that replicate Vincent van Goghs famed Sunflowers, 1888 currently housed in the National Gallery in London. These were each executed over the course of 40 hours of continuous painting by their robot. Each painting is made up of 9,153 brushstrokes derived from more than 100,000 lines of code.
Following the artists visit to the Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence, the duo embarked on a new series of Light Drawings. The chapel, often referred to as the Matisse Chapel, inspired them to recreate the late artists simple line drawings using photography and light. With this concept in mind, Rob and Nick used an additional robotic arm to create works by drawing with light in their darkroom, referencing photographs taken by Gjon Mili (1904-1984) and Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Man Rays (1890-1976) series Space Writing and Light Trap for Henry Moore by Bruce Nauman (1941). These new works are a continuation of the artists fascination with light painting. Twenty-five years ago, Rob and Nick began painting with light or using light and light-sensitive paper Cibachrome paperas opposed to paint and canvasto create vibrant images with visual energy. The resulting films and still photographs are taken with a long exposure from a fixed camera position, capturing the robot drawing in space with light.
Rob and Nick Carter were born in the UK in 1968 and 1969, respectively, and have been working together for 25 years. They are a married couple who live and work in London. As contemporary artists their work revolves around Light, Color and Form in many different mediums including, painting, photography, light installations, film, sculpture and robotics. Works by Rob and Nick are found in private and institutional collections around the world, including Dulwich Picture Gallery,London, UK, The Frick, Pittsburgh, United States, The Mauritshuis Museum, The Hague, Netherlands, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK, Frans Hals Museum, Harleem, Netherlands, Fondation Custodia, Frits Lugt Collection, Paris, France, Museum of Neon Art, Los Angeles, United States, Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany, and David Roberts Foundation, London, UK. Private collections include Elton John, Berkshire, UK.