December 20, 2022

TIL about Process Art


All my life I have faced a conflict I can’t seem to resolve. Time after time I find an apparent clash between the ideas of art and science.

Some art (eg. generative, ai) is heavily driven by technology, but the output is not particularly technical.

What attracted me most about “Systemic Art” was the focus on the art-making process over the final artwork. However, there is not a lot of information out there about the movement.

Art critic Lawrence Alloway identifies it as follows:

Systemic Painting, Lawrence Alloway

A few more notes:

“To work with a plan that is pre-set is one way of avoiding subjectivity. It also obviates the necessity of designing each work in turn. The plan would design the work. Some plans would require millions of variations, and some a limited number, but both are finite. Other plans imply infinity. In each case however, the artist would select the basic form and rules that would govern the solution of the problem. After that the fewer decisions made in the course of completing the work, the better. This eliminates the arbitrary, the capricious, and the subjective as much as possible. That is the reason for using this method.”

Sol Lewitt

I find the core concepts fascinating:

  1. avoid subjectivity
  2. make art following pre-established rules
  3. focus on the process (rules) over the output

So as I continue the search across the space between art and science, the prioritization of process above all else, as introduced in “Systemic” or “Process” art, appears to me as the purest of all the forms of creation.

December 20, 2022 · #miscellaneous


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