Press release Taylor Schultek solo ”Virtual Machine”
Opening September 12th 12-4PM
A Virtual Machine refers to a piece of software that emulates a full computer architecture within another host computer. It allows the user to experiment with alternative operating systems, hardware, and software scenarios in a sandbox environment.
A new body of work almost always starts with world-building for Taylor Schultek, using locally sourced subjects as much as possible. The foundation of the world in this show is a mostly non-fiction universe that has a fictional digitally simulated space within it, as we experience in daily life now. Within that space characters, subcultures, places, and symbols come together to create entry points to discuss a variety of relevant issues, both communal and personal.
In a way, this work shares the same principles of French Naturalism, about faithfully reproducing the world around us. But now 130 years later the world around us is also the digital world. Because of that, the line between fact and fiction in representational art has become increasingly unclear. Therefore, it can be difficult to distinguish between what is real and what is simulated.
”For a long time, I felt unable to paint realistic representations of life that also included the fictional, magical, and fantastical nature of digital experiences and I didn’t have a way of visually resolving that. Using the digital world as a subject is a way to narratively reconcile the more surreal, imaginative or magical visions I have with my desire to paint the world around me.” – Taylor Schultek, 2020
From that perspective, this show continues a shift from Taylor Schultek’s images being made of strictly analog reality to also include a second digital realm where almost any experience can be simulated.
In doing so, he reproduces both the realistic, while at the same time describing in his pictures how complex it is to be human in our time, precisely because it can be difficult to distinguish between the different worlds. By inserting fictional elements in realistic environments, and vice versa, he plays with this ambiguity in a world where ‘Fake News’ and misinformation has become commonplace. Put together, this work is meant to instigate a questioning of how we come to know and believe in truths and falsehoods, with a variety of current topics as the subject.
The painting Flux Capacitor is a great example of this. It shows a young man sitting on a train and thus being present in the same reality as the rest of us. But the man is also wearing a VR headset, and is simultaneously present in another virtual space. He exists in two parallel spaces at the same time. But which is more real?