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Artist Spotlight Series: Recreating the Past

January 14, 2022 Fall/Winter 2021-22

This post intends to highlight recent structural changes to the Recreating the Past (RTP) class in response to participant feedback. Previous iterations of RTP focused predominantly on computational artists who were white men and women and from western American backgrounds. This new, experimental iteration of RTP seeks to foreground artists of varying cultural backgrounds to challenge the computational art canon.

Recreating the Past has been taught at SFPC for 7 years, where participants take a close look at artists who have created work using computational techniques while discussing their approaches, tools, and their social and poetic underpinnings. RTP's Fall 2021 session is taught by Zach Lieberman with Murilo Polese, Edgardo Avilés-López and Hind Al Saad.

⁣Hassan Sharif

Hassan Sharif enrolled at the Byam Shaw School of Art (today part of Central Saint Martins) in 1980.

The first artist in this series is Hassan Sharif (1951 - 2016). Sharif was an Emirati artist, writer, educator and critic who began work in 1970s. His body of work encompassed: performance, installation, drawing, painting, and assemblage. Sharif enrolled at the Byam Shaw School of Art (today part of Central Saint Martins) in 1980 and came under the influence of artist Tam Giles, head of the Abstract and Experimental Department.

Called the "father of conceptual art in the Gulf”, through the DO IT Book.

This led to an interest in British Constructionism (a movement that articulated art-making through a scientific and mathematical sense according to objective principles and incorporated a participatory engagement with the viewer), Fluxus and Kenneth Martin’s notion of ‘chance and order’, which Sharif developed into his own ‘Semi-system’ way of working. This approach of repetition and variation was applied to a series of geometric and linear drawings, using arbitrary mathematical rules. ⁣

Seven Points Angular Lines – Part 1, 2013Dots - Lines - Forms, 1984

⁣Nedim Kufi

Nedim Kufi, Iraqi visual artist, designer and printmaker.

Nedim Kufi is an Iraqi visual artist, designer and printmaker. Born in Baghdad in 1962, he is known for his conceptual and autobiographical art that explores ideas around political conflict, historical memory and war.

Drawings depicting the Islamic tradition of repetition & patterning.

Kufi’s work pulls from the Islamic traditions of repetition & patterning, while building improvisation into his process. His experimentation also takes the shape of language manipulation through abstract forms.⁣⁣

A graphic describing Nedim’s framework.

Concrete Art Movement

As artists of the Concrete Art movement, the Noigandres Group, Norman Pritchard and Ulises Carrión all engaged in forms of Concrete Poetry, the visual composing of linguistic material into visual forms and arrangement in order to present poems in a multitude of forms. ⁣⁣⁣

The Noigandres Group

The Noigandres Group was made up of Brazilian poets Haroldo and Augusto de Campos and Decio Pignatari who set out with an ambitious dream: to change literature by creating a universal picture language that could be read by all and could dissolve linguistic and political barriers between nations. Letters would carry both semantic content as well as visual communicators that could stand in their own right. ⁣⁣⁣

Augusto de Campos, “terremoto,” 1956Haroldo de Campos’s poem “nascemorre”
⁣⁣⁣Norman Pritchard

Norman Pritchard (1939–1996) was a member of the Umbra poets, a collective of Black writers in Manhattan's Lower East Side founded in 1962. His visual poems and jazz poetry recordings leveraged unconventional methods like playful typography and audio experimentation. ⁣⁣⁣

The Matrix Poems, 1960-1970
Ulises Carrión⁣

Ulises Carrión (1941-1989) was a Mexican-born, Amsterdam-based artist and writer whose work explores the form of books as a “space-time sequence” and something beyond just an object that carries literary text.

Numerical ABC, 1977

Saloua Raouda Choucair

Saloua Raouda Choucair (1916 - 2017) was a Lebanese abstract painter and sculptor. Informed by her interest across several fields such as quantum physics and Arabic poetry, Choucair’s abstract-expressionist works combined principles of Islamic art, science, mathematics, and she produced paintings, sculptures, architectural plans, jewelry and other abstracted objects.

Portrait of Saloua Raouda ChoucairFractional Module, 1947-1951⁣

Though she was inspired by the principles of Islamic art, her visual references digressed from what people were acclimated to expecting. During the early 1960s, Choucair shifted her focus from 2d to 3d, creating sculptural works using materials like wood, aluminum and terra cotta, that could be disassembled or reassembled into squares, rectangles and towers with an architectural feel. ⁣

Poem', 1963 - 1965⁣Scarf printed on cotton, 1955 - 1956⁣