Bas Hendrikx

Dear visitor,

Welcome to the Blossom exhibition. It may seem unusual that Garage Rotterdam shows works of art from half a century ago, but I do not consider this to be a historical exhibition. There was something in the air in the early 1960s. A new graphic visual language originated at that time which not everybody found easy to place. Some people saw it as a counter movement against abstract expressionism; others saw it as an extension of Op Art.

We worked closely together with the MSU museum in Zagreb for this exhibition. It has many works of art from Croatian and international visual artists who took part in the New Tendencies exhibitions in the 1960s and 1970s. These exhibitions were all about studying the image. Visual artists and scientists who became part of this movement considered the computer to be an artistic medium.

I am convinced that these graphic works of art can still be topical today. Nothing seems impossible in today’s world, when computers are teaching themselves how to learn. The growth of the digital world seems endless. Smart technologies and useful algorithms are making life easier. However, the usage of scripts and code is not as new as is generally believed. Visual artists also started working with them in the 1960s; for example many artists who were involved in New Tendencies.

Visual artists wrote scripts that generated images reminding us of patterns in biology and astronomy. Artists and scientists started to experiment with mathematics, code and technology, which led to a symbiosis between art and technology. An image was created based on the preconditions that had been
developed. The process of creation is organic and code plays an important role in this process. Using rules and code, generative art thus creates something in a way that is very similar to organic growth. This art form acts as an independent organism, but it is forced to develop itself within a fixed, cultural framework.

I wanted to emphasize the strong ties between this kind of art and biology with the Blossom exhibition. This is why I invited two contemporary visual artists: Samantha Thole en Phillip Janssens. They have created works of art for this exhibition that precisely emphasize the organic and cultivated nature of the exhibition, albeit each in their own unique way.

Enjoy the Blossom exhibition,

Bas Hendrikx