Tabor Robak

Natural Disaster, 2018

Short throw 4k projector, Brightsign media player, Real-time video

Dimensions Variable

Edition size: 3

Artist proof: 2


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Artwork
Description

With ‘Natural Disaster’ Tabor Robak explores the apocalyptic clash between nature and technology. Devised as a ‘digital monsoon’ the fluid waves sweeping across the screen seem to sweep the viewer off their feet, encroaching the physical space, contained only by the flimsy contour of the screen. Displayed for the first time in the Deadhouse of Somerset House, London in conjunction with the four-part series ‘Cardio’, ‘Endo’, ‘Nervo’, ‘Skelo’, this is the natural disaster that led those ‘bodies’ to be buried in the crypt of Somerset House.

The ravaging monsoon almost has a mind of its own: brought on by a self generating algorithm created by Tabor Robak, which runs through images of leaves and other organic matter and pulls them apart, yields infinite, ever changing results. The continuously swaying tides of colour are created anew each second and will never be repeated again: the computer will supply an endless amount of combinations.

Still linked to the CRT screensaver aesthetic for which Robak is well known, ‘Natural Disaster’ takes a more painterly approach. Indeed, for the viewer is almost as if they were contemplating a moving abstract painting. Computer generated imagery, Robak seems to suggest, can be a way to continue the tradition of painting, through contemporaneous means.

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About
the artist

Tabor Robak (b. 1986) was born in Portland, Oregon and now lives and works in New York. He received his BFA at Pacific Northwest College of Art in 2010.

Tabor Robak started his career as a graphic designer, working with multinational brands such as Nike and T-Mobile. This gave him an understanding of marketing, and the use of digital technology to create images designed to sell; the visual language used by multi-nationals. The artist’s virtuosity with programs such as Photoshop, CINEMA 4D and Unity allows him to generate vivid and unique scenes often displayed across multiple high definition panels.

There is a dramatic tension in his work between the real and the imagined in his use of often-appropriated digital objects to create virtual landscapes, which frequently contain elements – animals, machines, fragments of videogames – that are recognisable from our day to day life. This creates a symbiotic relationship between the digital and the real. In a very real way digital space has now become an intangible reality. The worlds built by Robak have a distinctly cinematic sensibility that hyperbolises the shine and dramatic effects of 3D rendered animation. The aesthetic of his work is supremely important, drawing the viewer into a truly alluring, indulgent and strangely gratifying environment. There is a further challenge to the void between high-art and the worlds of 3D animation and gaming, in the intersection between depiction and simulation. This can be partially attributed to the vernacular of advertising Robak is so proficient at utilising.

Robak’s work references the amount of time individuals remain connected to the digital world, whether it is through digital mapping applications or as a virtual avatar. It seems strange that such mesmerising landscapes do not truly exist in any physical element, representing the pinnacle of non-auratic art. They are actions rather than objects and unlike painting, sculptures, or even celluloid, they lack any form of physical support. Furthermore, by using an imagery that already exist as commercially available templates – such as Candy Crush Saga-ish sceneries or gigantic smartphone screens – he revolutionises the ready-made. For instance, in ‘Drinking Bird Seasons’ (2014), Robak appropriates the appearance a locked iPhone screen, combined with carefully programmed virtual fluids moving across it. He has described his work as having a “photoshop tutorial aesthetic” and in as much, the manipulation of images and digital objects to create fantasy is clearly present in his oeuvre. A significant example is ‘Dog Park’ (2015), which stems from an encoded algorithm generating a fantastic labyrinth of endless possibilities and configurations, where digitally drawn birds interact with complex mechanisms.

 


Tabor Robak started his career as a graphic designer, working with multinational brands such as Nike and T-Mobile. This gave him an understanding of marketing, and the use of digital technology to create images designed to sell; the visual language used by multi-nationals. The artist’s virtuosity with programs such as Photoshop, CINEMA 4D and Unity allows him to generate vivid and unique scenes often displayed across multiple high definition panels.


Tabor Robak
on Artuner

Part of the
exhibition

May 22nd, 2019 until
August 31st, 2019
Curated by ARTUNER