Dark Factory Portraits. Painting as Seen by Robots

Dark Factory Portraits. Painting as Seen by Robots
#Art

According to a recent study by Oxford University, between 15 and 35% of all the work done in the UK today will become completely automated. But can a machine substitute a painter, transmitting an essentially human trait such as personality onto the canvas? Rob and Nick Carter, Britain’s longest-standing artistic couple asked themselves this question. To answer it, they have created a complex and captivating project, now on display at Ben Brown Fine Arts. With the help of cutting-edge software and visual effects specialists, the two artists tested the capacities of robots to produce portraits of art protagonists, such as Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst, starting from a mere photograph. Three years of experimentation produced stimulating and provocative images, now placed next to the handmade work of 12 contemporary artists at the gallery. A video, in fact, demonstrates the painter friends of the Carters - from Jonathan Yeo to the rising stars Flora Yukhnovic and Caroline Walker – working with oil paints, acrylics, enamels and water colours. A scenario far different from the Dark Factory to which the exhibition’s title alludes, recalling the manufacturing in the dark in automated factories where, obviously, machines do not require to “see” what they’re doing. After learning the style indicated by the artist, will the robot be able to absorb the empathy, creativity, manual sensibility and social intelligence of the artists as well? To find out, head to Ben Brown.
Francesca Grego - © 2020 ARTE.it for Bulgari Hotel London