Framed colour print- 160 x 85 cm Text framed colour print- 37 x 85 cm
Born in New York City in 1976, Chen is an alumnus of Tulane University in New Orleans and is best known as the founder of Kickstarter, the online funding platform for creative projects. Now based in Paris, Chen’s art practice explores the implications of technological change on a number of platforms. For Chen the most pertinent question is “How do we negotiate a world of growing complexity and uncertainty,” preferring to look at larger patterns and forces rather than focus on specific technological changes. The works in this show employ appropriated images and texts to represent the intersections of specific phenomena. Multiple systems of signification come together into each condensed wall work, illuminating the way we can now view languages (both verbal and visual) as geometric structures, each with hundreds of dimensions. This will be Chen’s first exhibition in India and his second time working with Nature Morte, having participated in a symposium on Artificial Intelligence hosted by the gallery in September 2018.
Perry Chen adds, 'I approach my work with an openness to both form and context. As a designer of tools, I offer my answers. As a studio artist, I embrace Chekhov — "The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.” While both of these approaches may, arguably, produce art, I’m less interested in labeling work than I am in employing any practices that help me understand and contribute to the world. My studio practice is an important tool for me to explore my biggest questions without expecting answers. By undertaking a process of research, consideration, and formalization into art, I seek to get a better feel for the shape and texture of the questions I’m grappling with.'
Increasingly, as art diversifies into new mediums and the boundaries amongst disciplines dissolve, scientists, philosophers, and engineers are drawn to the strategies and freedoms associated with art making. Exhibition spaces created for art are being opened to visual material from other fields of research, while artists themselves seek input in social and political realms. Are there really enough galleries to accommodate art works (not to mention a market to trade in) made by the thousands who are graduating from art schools? Perhaps the skills of critical thinking and creative problem solving one learns at art school would be better applied to other realms of human endeavor? Luckily, winds are blowing in such directions, billowed by the crises of climate change, economic inequality, political populism, and social upheavals caused by technological developments. We hope that the 21st Century will see those trained in the arts, of all types, take their places at the tables of power which make the decisions which shape our societies.
History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes, 2020 Digital prints on Hahnemühle photo rag paper
Framed colour print- 185 x 85 cm Text framed color print- 37 x 85 cm
As a private business functioning in the mode of a commercial gallery for contemporary art, it is impossible for Nature Morte not to be affected by these changes. We are forced to question our programming, who we consider to be an "artist," and what we consider to be "art." These are not simple choices and we are dependent on friends, advisors and chance that lead us to creative people who are making things which we can facilitate into the platforms we have created to disseminate art and information to a wider public. Being based in India makes this task all the more urgent, as access to contemporary cultural expressions is restricted outside of major metropolitan areas, and even within them, barriers to entry are rampant. By working with someone like Perry Chen, who is not the product of a typical art school education, we hope to create bridges of dialogue both within the artistic community and between fields entirely divorced from art. The works (straddling definitions of both pictures and objects) that Mr. Chen creates, and which we will show both in our gallery and on virtual platforms, function as tools to ask questions about wider forces operating in the world we all share today.
Drawing on his interest in systems, his work also focuses on the creation -- and possibilities -- of new formats for generative social exchange and collaboration. I n 2009, Chen created the website Kickstarter as a way for fellow artists and musicians to raise money for their creative work. Since then, over 190,000 creative projects have been funded through Kickstarter. Chen is also known for his engagement around the problems of profit-centric systems; specifically the need for better structures, tools, and institutions to enable a more generative and less extractive society. In 2015, he spearheaded Kickstarter’s conversion to a Public Benefit Corporation, legally formalizing the company’s long held commitment to its mission -- to help creative projects come to life -- over optimizing for profit.
A long-time critic of the attention economy, Chen served on the Knight Commission on Trust, Media, and Democracy from 2017-18 to examine and make recommendations in response to the collapse in trust in U.S. democratic institutions, media, journalism, and the information ecosystem. In 2018, he was honored with the Digital Visionary Award from The Center for Democracy & Technology for his commitment “to shaping a world where the internet and technology improve lives and propel human creativity.” Time Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2013.
Preview the Viewing Room at viewingroom.naturemorte.com/perpetualnovelty
Credit Artist and Nature Morte, New Delhi
Change is constant, 2020 Digital Prints on Hahnemühle photorag paper and tempered glass
Framed colour print- 90 x 154 cm Framed colour print- 37 x 65 cm Text framed colour print- 37 x 85 cm