Joseph Nechvatal


Computer Virus 1.0 and the Return of Lazarus

November 8th - December 10th 2017


Galerie Richard


121 Orchard St. New York City


From November 8th to December 10th 2017 American artist Joseph Nechvatal presents Computer Virus 1.0 and the Return of Lazarus. This mini-retrospective exhibition consists of 9 computer-robotic assisted paintings: 4 historic 1993 paintings from Nechvatal’s HyperCard Computer Virus Project (1992-93) that dealt with the AIDS virus epidemic placed in conjunction with computer viruses, 2 small 1988 paintings from his Informed Man series (1986-89), and 3 new 2017 paintings on velour entitled The Return of Lazarus. These 3 new paintings are based on recovered digital files of Nechvatal’s 1986 maquettes of un-realized computer-robotic assisted paintings from his Informed Man series that featured an information-saturated Lazarus returning from the dead. The entirety of the show stresses a continuum of artistic acts based on recovering from loss and the resisting of oblivion.



Hyper-Intersubjectivity (1988) 24x18” canvas



Networked Animus (1988) 24x18” canvas



viral attaque : amoR foRti (1993) 46x70” canvas



viral attaque : breaK thRougH (1993) 40x48” canvas



viral attaque : haVes & haVe nOts (1993) 40x48” canvas



viral attaque : passiOn pluS (1993) 40x48” canvas



Retrun of Lazarus : prOlOngatiOn (2017) 4x5’ velour



Retrun of Lazarus : sublimatiOn (2017) 4x5’ velour




Retrun of Lazarus : expeditiOn (2017) 4x5’ velour




Computer Virus 1.0 and the Return of Lazarus picks up on the themes of extinction and viral demise that Joseph Nechvatal developed in the late-80s and early-90s. His Computer Virus Project was created under the umbrella of the FRAC Franche-Comte at the Centre International de Réflexion sur l'Avenir de la Fondation Claude-Nicolas Ledoux at La Saline Royale d'Arc-et-Senans as part of Nechvatal’s artist-in-residency at Atelier Louis Pasteur in Arbois, France (1991-1993). As discussed with Thyrza Goodeve in an interview in the January 2016 issue of The Brooklyn Rail, Nechvatal explains that the Computer Virus Project’s initial goal was to produce physical paintings using algorithms that implement a virtual ‘viral’ model. This use of computer code as simulation tool allowed him to virtually introduce artificial viruses into a digitized reproduction of his earlier artwork (the host) and to transform and destroy those images in a ravishing manner. During these launched ‘attacks’ in 1993, a new still image was extracted and roboticly spray painted on canvas so as to bring the virtual into the actual realm. The negative connotations of the HIV virus as a vector of disease is reflected in the principle of degradation that the host image undergoes, but the virus is also the basis of a creative process, producing newness in terms of the history of painting.