LUKE CAULFIELD – Asynchronous Software

Asynchronous Software is LUKE CAULFIELD’S first exhibition in Spain which holds a clue to one of the most prominent Spanish artworks of the twentieth century.

LUKE CAULFIELD has for many years directed his work at how events are inherently part of the lifetime of cultural artefacts and how these objects trigger different moments of time simultaneously. This interest led him to the 1936 bombing of the Prado Museum and the only artwork that was damaged: a small renaissance frieze. On seeing the frieze, it occurred to Caulfield that it had striking visual parallels with Picasso’s Guernica. Caulfield later realised that Picasso was director of the Prado at this time (although living in Paris) so must have known about this. After researching hundreds of French newspapers, he found an image of the damaged frieze on the front cover of Picasso’s favourite newspaper, L´Humanité, in February 1937. Picasso was known to be a daily reader of L´Humanité so it meant that he would have seen the frieze weeks after he had been commissioned for the Paris Exposition mural that would eventually become Guernica but before the town of Guernica was bombed. This tantalising connection intrigued Caulfield and he was generously granted permission to photograph the frieze which is hidden away in storage rooms underneath the Prado. The resultant work consists of a version of the frieze that is based upon its state of 1912 (the last time it was photographed before the bomb) and a transformed version; both made through digital sculpting, 3D printing and digital animation. This exhibition at Espacio Minimo is the first time that this work has been publicly shown.

Some of the paintings exhibited reflect the experience of fleeing the Prado. In the case of the Goya-derived painting, Caulfield has highlighted the damage from a bombed balcony whilst in transit. Caulfield imagines these paintings as absorbing the fear of those who transported them out of Madrid. At the same time Caulfield titles them as” documentations” of other more contemporary artists. He allows the work to act as a trigger of memory, activating different moments of history simultaneously.

Caulfield’s focus on the history of art becomes a strategy to attempt to avoid his own authorship and he toys with the idea that he may not be making a work of art himself but instead making a “documentation” of other works of art. He asks the question of whether the objective of documenting an artwork is doomed to failure. This is since he sees the artwork to be documented as a moving target that changes over time and through different ambient/ cultural conditions; of course materiality and scale are also difficult to perceive through documentation. Caulfield embraces these problems and chooses to document, for example, an invisible artwork from the 1960s through the medium of oil painting. The image would be manipulated digitally in a primitive way, allowing digital “accidents” to occur, then a digital drawing would be made to facilitate a projection on canvas as a means of copying the image. This digital drawing is initially intended to be a utilitarian map to make the painting but as a by-product of the process is also projected and made into a painting and therefore creates a form of diptych. He rhetorically asks if the intention is more important than the result or vice versa.
Caulfield’s contra-hierarchical use of media becomes post-media, for example oil paintings become something which could be perceived as not in themselves the artwork. The result is an openness to style, clashes of which harkens back to Brechtian alienation techniques.
Caulfield confronts the aesthetic predispositions of the viewer, the value of originality, the impossibility of repetition, digital/manual fallibility and temporal expectations.

LUKE CAULFIELD (London, 1969) graduated in Fine Art at The Slade, University of London in 2000. He currently lives and works in London. Cauldfield has exhibited at international galleries and institutional spaces such as Daelim Contemporary Art Museum of Seoul, Le Musée de Marrakech in Morocco, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art of Sunderland, Rogaland Kunstsenter in Norway, Kelvingrove Museum of Glasgow, Oriel Mostyn Gallery of Llandudno, Angel Row Gallery in Nottingham, Laining Art Gallery of Newcastle, Cornerhouse Gallery in Manchester o Sotheby’s in London. He was awarded in the Abbey Fellowship of Rome, Cocheme Fellowship, residencia AIR, Arts Foundation Fellowship shortlist, Natwest Art Prize, Mostyn Open and the John Moores. His work is in the internationals collections of Anita Zabludowicz, Paul Smith, Alan Cristea, Vanessa Branson, Nelson Woo, Prue O’Day, Christian Shin, Carolina Botín y Glazo Smith Kline. Selected press, publications and catalogues include, Breaking Down the Barriers (Richard Cork), New Gothic Art (Francesca Gavin), The Times, The Tetegraph, Ther Independent, The Guardian, Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph, Independent on Sunday, Financial Times, Vogue, Art Review, Dazed and Confused, Tatler, Pop Magazine, Contemporary magazine and Le Hournal des Artes.