MATT PYKE (B.1975) IS A UK BASED MEDIA ARTIST WORKING IN THE
PEAK DISTRICT NATIONAL PARK AND LONDON. HE IS THE FOUNDER OF
THE DIGITAL ART / DESIGN STUDIO, UNIVERSAL EVERYTHING.
HIS WORK EXPLORES THE TENSION BETWEEN ABSTRACT AND FIGURATIVE
FORM AND THE SYNESTHESIA OF SOUND AND IMAGE, LEADING TO EXPRESSIVE,
VIBRANT DIGITAL ARTWORKS, EMBODIED WITH EMERGENT LIFE AND ANTHROPOMORPHISM.
HIS APPROACH IS LED BY PAINTING AND SCULPTING WITH NEW TECHNOLOGIES
AND FORMATS INCLUDING 3D PRINTING, TOUCH SCREENS, MOTION CAPTURE AND
LARGE FORMAT VIDEO. THE USE OF SOUND IS INTRINSIC TO THE WORK, STIMULATING
VISUAL REACTIONS AND AMPLIFYING EMOTIONS.
HIS ARTWORKS HAVE EXHIBITED WORLDWIDE INCLUDING MOMA – NEW YORK,
V&A MUSEUM – LONDON, CENTRAL ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS – BEIJING,
GARAGE CENTRE FOR CONTEMPORARY CULTURE – MOSCOW,
LA GAITE LYRIQUE – PARIS AND ART HK – HONG KONG.
Sheffield-based Matt Pyke makes digital art that’s rooted in the physical. In his show Super-Computer-Romantics, organic processes (growth, decay), nature, or simply natural actions (walking, running) shape computer-generated ones. A series of people — dancers, actually — struggle against a digital windstorm that blows them, literally, to bytes. A mesmerizing life-size wall-projected walking man, his footsteps providing the drumbeat for a slab of noisy electro, is a constant mutation as his body shapeshifts from diamonds to fur to rainbow-hued electric hair. In an alcove, a series of winter-y trees find their limbs illuminated with electronic leaves when you step into the room.
Much of Pyke’s work (usually realized with one or more collaborators) is quite simple in concept, but it’s never facile in the way that some digital art can be. That’s because he is a master of scale — his pieces are installed with a feel for the dramatic. His soundtracks, which borrow from trance, ambient and industrial, only enhance his theatrical stagings while at the same time creating a meditative space for the viewer.
Super-Computer-Romantics closed today at the Gaité Lyrique in Paris. From a piece on the museum in The Paris Blog:
Here a new Paris museum, la Gaité Lyrique, has just opened: dedicated entirely to the digital. This is a legendary 1862 theatre transformed (for 83 million euros) into a Centre Pompidou for iPhone users. Among its features: art, music, games, films, talks and performances. Not to mention a library stuffed with books and magazines on fashion, style and design—in English as well as French. Also a bar in its most stunning space, where you can sip a cocktail in gilded Second Empire splendor.
Indeed, as I discovered today, you could do worse than an afternoon here on your next Paris trip, complete with a stay in that upstairs library, well-stocked with English language magazines on art, music, video, film and new digital culture. Read more about Pyke at his site. And click on the headline if you do not see the video below.
Sur l’écran de 25 mètres, des images très grand format de danseurs traversent l’espace immaculé. Ils luttent avec acharnement contre un ouragan infernal, matérialisé par des formes numériques arrachées au corps du danseur. On ne sait ce qu’il veut, gracieux et fragile, mais on comprend son besoin impérieux d’atteindre l’autre bout de l’écran. « J’aime le côté Sisyphe du personnage. Son incapacité à renoncer, s’amuse Pyke. Nous avions juste construit un plan incliné pour donner l’illusion que le danseur lutte contre le vent, alors qu’il ne fait que rechercher son équilibre. Je suis resté très old school. »