Strata #4 is a multi-channel immersive video-installation commissioned by Palais de Beaux Arts in Lille. The subject of this work is a series of iconic pieces from the museum’s Flemish collection, focusing specifically on Rubens’ and Van Dyck’s grand altarpieces. Strata #4 is the result of a study and exploration of the paintings themselves, delving beneath their figurative appearance and looking at the very rules behind the composition, colour schemes and proportions of each piece. It is a precise process aimed at creating new contemporary images based on universal rules of beauty and perfection. Documenting the improbable collisions between classical figuration and contemporary abstraction, Strata #4 aims to create an harmonious dialogue between worlds that may appear very distant from one another, but in fact share so much in common.
Strata #4 is part of the ongoing Strata Series
“Quayola’s Strata series studies the visual language of classical pairings and architecture. using custom software to analyze and deconstruct the improbable tensions and collisions existing between the old and new. In the multi-channel immersive video installation Strata #4, he takes inspiration from works of Flemish masters like Rubens and Van Dyck, creating an unlikely harmonious dialogue between classic and digital aesthetics.” — Creators Project
Matthias Kispert: sound design
James Medcraft: photography
Kieran Finch, Cai Matthews: animation assistants
Mauritius Seeger, Evan Bohem: programming
Beccy McCray: producer
Patrick Hearn: technical support
Commissioned by Palais des Beaux Arts, Lille
Produced by Nexus, London
Taking its name from the geological term “stratification” the word, strata, acts as a metaphor for Quayola’s reinterpretations of these classical art works via modern artistic tools and custom software.
The series—which he’s been working on since 2008—reframes icons of universal beauty in new contexts, mutating the time-honored practice of brush strokes and baroque architectural stylings into algorithmically derived polygonic eruptions and immersive moving images. This method of exploring art through Delaunay triangulation is part of a larger trend among new media artists, who use code to analyze, explore and recontextualize the color palettes and compositions of classical artists, filtering their aesthetics through digital methods.
Exhibiting the work at our event allowed the piece to be seen in its natural environment, as a large scale exhibition, because its impact is felt much more monumentally in person. As Quayola explains in the video:
…ultimately I’m not making films, these are not films, these are objects of contemplation that have a certain scale, a certain proportion, a certain dialogue with the space and with the people.