Artist Albums

How do artists interact with digital images of works in museum and art gallery collections?

Tate recently launched a project to find out. They’ve invited four artists to create their own albums of digital versions of original archival material in their collections. Each artist has been asked to write a supporting blog post in which they discuss how they’ve used the images in their own work.

First up is artist Lawrence Lek, who uses video games software to create unsettling digital worlds based on real places. He outlines his practice and research in the months leading up to his involvement in the Glasgow International Festival in April 2016.

He was looking at paintings of the sublime in order to inject some drama into QE3, a digital simulation that he’s working on for the festival. He’ll create a fictional last voyage for the QE2 luxury ocean liner, being taken back to its birthplace in the Clyde to be turned into an extension for the Glasgow School of Art. Although it’ll be made with 3D animation software, it draws on the tradition of sublime seascapes like Turner’s Stormy Sea with Blazing Wreck.

Joseph Mallory William Turner, Stormy Sea with Blazing Wreck, c.1835-40, Tate collection, NO4658.

Joseph Mallory William Turner, Stormy Sea with Blazing Wreck, c.1835-40, Tate collection, NO4658.

Tate has a particularly great selection of deliberately ‘dark, uncertain, and confused’ canvases and sketches. Scanned notebooks filled with hastily drawn depictions of storms, crashing waves and burning buildings are found throughout the digitised collections. For Lawrence, it’s this element of real-time that brings together sublime painting and video simulation.

Why not make your own Artist Album as a research tool for new projects?