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Nick Fudge exhibits his work at HSBC HQ Canary Wharf
Installation view.

LONDON.- Nick Fudge studied at Goldsmiths’ College under Michael Craig-Martin and Jon Thompson and was a peer of Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas, Liam Gillick, Michael Landy etc., a group of artists who jump-started a cultural revolution in the British art world of the late 1980’s. Fudge was highly regarded by his peers and tutors at Goldsmiths and was expected to also attain immediate success.

However, Fudge made the decision to disappear from the international art scene and for over twenty-five years Fudge, influenced by Marcel Duchamp, went completely underground and moved to America to make his work on the road and in secret. During those years, Fudge never showed his work to anyone keeping his paintings in storage and his entire digital oeuvre stored on transportable hard drives on outmoded Mac OS hard drives that are almost entirely impossible to access by anyone with a modern laptop. While the digital economy accelerated over the past twenty-five years, Fudge - updating Duchamp’s concept of ‘delay’ - has only recently begun to exhibit his painting and digital work.

In Undo Redo Return Nick Fudge invites you to join him on his audacious quest to explore the future of painting in our digital age.

Responding to the digital revolution of the last twenty years, Fudge brings contemporary digital imaging into exquisite tension with his reworking of masterpieces from modernist painters such as Duchamp, Picabia, Picasso and Johns. These were all artists who questioned or pushed the boundary of what painting was understood to be. In this show, Fudge asks: ‘What is painting in the age of hyper imaging (in the past, present and future)?’, ‘Where is it going?’ and ‘Will painting endure in the future?’ These are important questions, especially given the new ways we can now see images: as multiple copies; from multiple vantages; across multiple media; and even in virtual spaces.

Undo Redo Return opens with Fudge’s depiction of the American desert, the location of the gold rush and now home to Silicon Valley. This arid setting for the rise of new world entrepreneurism sits opposite a lush French landscape, which evokes a sense of old-world romance. A series of oil paintings and digitally constructed images have been installed over these grand landscapes to act as ‘double images’. The oil paintings invoke the imagery of Modernist painting yet they are painted in response to today’s digital age where image making has become hyper productive and increasingly product-oriented. Together these digital images and paintings create an exquisite yet uncomfortable tension between them - the present, past and future all hang together and seem to simulate a sort of augmented reality.

Reality or the ‘appearance of the real’ is at the core of this body of work. Initially some pieces appear to be screenshots of GUI’s or digital photographic images, however, they are actually all drawn by hand using digital drawing tools. In this way, Fudge questions the constructed reality of the image. Fudge’s paintings address the possibilities of the digital workspace, the labour of which extends beyond what is humanly possible. Fudge explains that “you can undo an activity in digital (and artistic) contexts but you cannot undo an activity in ‘real’ life - or you can layer digital and analogue materials, techniques and time-spaces together”.

This bold and thought provoking show encourages the viewer to continually question what they think they can see. Fudge’s work is brilliantly ambitious and, as we are dragged further and further into this digital age, it becomes increasingly more important to ask the questions Fudge is confronting us with.

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