Jürg Lehni uses the Flood Fill algorithm that he already modified and further developed for his 2003 work Flood Fill – Global Warning to visualize verbs from Richard Serra’s Verb List of 1967-68. On two pieces of paper, which are now part of the collection of MoMA in New York, Serra listed 84 verbs and 24 contexts in which the verbs could be found. Based on his famous slogan “Drawing is a verb”, Serra saw the list as a stock of actions related to oneself and to the material, location and process of art.
The FF Offline font that Lehni employed here is already influenced by its favored use by the American conceptual artist Laurence Weiner for his books and installations. In a “software that produces a self-generating and always-varying animation sequence every time it runs”, as the artist puts it, verbs like TWIST, MIX, DIG or SPILL are projected onto a screen placed in the corner. While Lehni’s Global Warning was about the digital drawing of hand-written contents, here the concept of digital drawing itself is explored. The result is not drawings, as in Global Warning, but different ways of referring to drawing.
(Text: Bettina Back)
Jürg Lehni works collaboratively across disciplines, dealing with the nuances of technology, tools and the human condition. His works often take the form of platforms and scenarios for production, such as the drawing machines Hektor, Rita and Viktor, as well as software-based structures and frameworks, including Paper.js, Scriptographer and Vectorama.org.
Lehni has shown work internationally in group and solo shows at the MoMA New York, Walker Art Center, Centre Pompidou, Institute of Contemporary Arts London, Victoria and Albert Museum, Design Museum London, Kunsthalle St. Gallen, etc. In 2014, his work Viktorhas been acquired by the SFMOMA for their collection.
He runs an independent practise in Switzerland since 2002, but has lived and worked in many places around the globe: As the Arts Council Visiting Professor at the UCLA Department of Design Media Arts in 2012 ~ 2013, running his own studio in London in 2008 ~ 2011, on a Swiss Design Awards residency in New York in 2007, and on a research residency at Sony SET Studio in Tokyo in 2006.