George Widener at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne
by invitation of Prof. Mischa Kuball
"Time Machine", 2011, mixed media on paper, 184 x 139 cm
Thursday, 16th of June 2011, 5 pm
Auditorium, Filzengraben 2, 50676 Cologne, Germany
George Widener (*1962 in Covington, Kentucky)
is a self-taught artist who employs his mathematical calculating capability and his love for numerical puzzles to create art ranging from complex calendars and numerical palindromes to antiquarian landscapes and Asian scrolls. His early fascination with calendars was so intense, that he developed a habit of mentally converting any number he saw into a calendar date. He predicts that some day his art will be enjoyed by super-intelligent machines such as the high-capacity computers under development today. His art “will help make these machines friendlier to us.”
Widener has pursued his interest in numbers, calendar dates, statistics and factual information as far back as his childhood. His personal notebooks with facts and figures have accompanied him throughout the years: through a turbulent childhood; later at eighteen, when working with the military in intelligence in a department shared with the cryptographers and code breakers; during the two years he was enrolled in engineering at the University of Texas, but also in the time after dropping out of university, after countless jobs and in the time following, when living in homeless shelters in a string of American cities. On several occasions, after saving enough money from odd day jobs to buy plane tickets, Widener travelled to European cities, including Amsterdam, London and Berlin, where he slept in public parks or squatted in abandoned buildings. He continued to draw obsessively, withdrawing socially. Only later was he identified as a savant with Asperger Syndrome.
Since 2000 his art has focussed on elaborate large-scale works, which combine drawings of architectural structures with the lists of dates, statistical information and which often integrate calculations from magic squares. The result is a grid of numerical patterns and correlations of detailed numbers inspired by cartography, mathematics and numerology, that seeks to shed light on time and the unfolding of human events and the codification of the systems of chance and historical aribratiness.
Widener's work is presented internationally, most recently in a solo exhibition at Ricco Maresca Gallery in New York, in the group exhibitions „World Transformers“ at Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt and „Exhibition 1“ at the Museum of Everything, London. Galerie Susanne Zander will open in the Fall 2011 with a comprehensive one man show in Cologne.
George is currently residing at the Neues Kunstforum Cologne (www.neues-kunstforum.com) and will work here until the end of June 2011.
For further information on the Academy of Media Arts / KHM: www.khm.com
On the artist George Widener: www.galerie-susanne-zander.com