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Five Reasons To Explore Digital Art In 2019

January 2019Words by Mr Oli Stratford

Ms Claudia Hart, “The Flower Matrix”, 2017–ongoing. Photograph courtesy of arebyte Gallery

What makes for the appropriate stuff and matter of art? Back in 1917, Mr Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain” – the Dadaist’s famed sculpture of a porcelain urinal – drew upon the physical objects that made up the things of 20th-century life. Today’s artists, however, have richer hunting grounds to exploit. No longer limited to the material world, contemporary artists may now draw upon the 21st century’s all-encompassing digital ether of social media, GIFs and online networks. More than 100 years on from Mr Duchamp’s act of artistic inclusivity, the material palette from which practitioners might draw has expanded rapidly to encompass realms rather less earthy than Mr Duchamp’s urinal.

It should surprise no one, then, to observe the rise of digital art and the growing interest in shaping code and online ephemera into the stuff of art. In a digital world, digital matter becomes a potent mode of artistic expression. The field already has its own dedicated biennale, The Wrong, a decentralised exhibition whose next edition opens on 1 November, as well as a series of specialist galleries and growing interest from international institutions and museums. To mark the year ahead, we have selected five exhibitions and events that may further burnish the reputation of this burgeoning field.