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Grid Distortion

©François Lauginie

Grid Distortion, 2008-2013

Marius Watz
  • Artist (1973)
mariuswatz.com

Marius Watz is one of the key figures on the scene of generative art, which he helped make known thanks to Generator.x. Founded in 2005, this curatorial platform has since led to a series of exhibitions (Norway, 2005-2007; Berlin, 2008), workshops, conferences and events of the same name. An autodidact, Watz has developed since the early 1990s a practice that cannot be dissociated from his critical approach to algorithmic tools and his refusal of a purely objectivist understanding of the digital world. If it rests on the sole use of computer codes and the development of semi-autonomous generative systems, software abstraction – defined by the artist as the technological continuation of historical movements such as Op art and Neo-minimalism – rejects any form of technological determinism in favour of a search for purely visual and artistic effects, which Watz pushes to its extremes. The artist proceeds by successive explorations, manipulating the code and modifying parameters until he has upset the logical processes, thereby generating colours and contrasts as well as centripetal, manifold forms. If software necessarily remains the artist’s primary means of expression (Neon Organic, 2005), his realisations have become more diverse as Watz relinquishes the psycho-sensorial approach that distinguished his first interactive installations (Sense Less, 1996) to explore printing, installations (Prime, 2010; Wall Exploder A, 2011) and digital production techniques (Object #5, 2011), which retroactively inform the processes themselves. Watz regularly makes new use of the same processes through various revisions, thereby creating material genealogies, as for the installations Wall Exploder A and B (2011), the engraved panels ArcSurf Drawings (2012) and the 3D-printed sculpture Object #1-3 (2007). Widely circulating online, his award-winning work has been presented in festivals (Ars Electronica, STRP Festival), museums (V&A Museum, Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture, Turbulences-Frac Centre) and galleries (DAM).

Emmanuelle Chiappone-Piriou