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Something is happening in the art world. Crypto and NFT art are the latest ground-breaking phenomena. Sotheby’s auctioned off a file by the German artist Beeple for almost 70 million US dollars. Are these all just absurdities, or is a new, substantial addition emerging within the mosaic of art?

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“NFT”, “Blockchain”, “Crypto”? No idea what it’s all about? No problem, as fundamentally it’s quite simple. Thanks to Blockchain technology, it’s been possible for a few years now to sign digital files and record their owners therein. This has implications for art. With Blockchain comes the possibility for artists to generate editions and unique pieces of digital art. For the art market, Digital Art becomes tradable. For collectors, the files become a collector’s item, since through Blockchain owners are recorded in the file. Furthermore the entire process is more transparent and traceable than the classic art market

For our first exhibition, we have selected 14 artists who will open the door for us into the world of Crypto art. Among them are top-class artists who exhibit in the world’s major museums, as well as promising young talent.

NFT art or Crypto art mostly consists of small clips that can be played endlessly in a loop. However, static images as a file are also possible. The clips are usually no longer than 10 to 30 seconds, and do not require a precise moment of entry for the viewer. In the end, the artistic works often oscillate between panel painting and video clip

Crypto art is mostly observed via monitors, projections or social media platforms. This results in very specific demands on the formal artistic language, precisely where the new and fascinating aspect of this art lies.

Not only do new possibilities arise for the artists. The recipients, the viewers, and collectors can also handle their works of art differently. The artworks are not tied to a specific location and can easily be exchanged. Thus, collectors can have a different work appear on the wall screen in the morning than in the evening. However, the further development of Crypto art raises exciting questions for artists, art brokers, and buyers.

We are pleased that Gallerie Greulich is one of the first galleries in Germany to devote itself so intensively to this new branch of fine art, and is therefore a part of the discussion.

Lulu XXX
f(ee)mme
p(ii)ich # 18, Anna Karina, 2021, Edition 60

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LuluXXX works as a CGI/3D artist. From 2015 on, she has been generating her works through artificial intelligence. She does this by using an analytics tool to create new moving images from found footage. LuluXXX creates the tools with Open Source programs and her own codes.

Ruben Fro, Atlantis – Drowning in Thoughts # 2, 2021, Edition 20

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Ruben Fro is a star of the milieu. Visually alluring, his works fascinate. In terms of content, they go far beyond this initial visual appeal. Fro is very much concerned with the dynamics of “becoming” and the location of the individual in the world. In the short clips, light and image spheres repeatedly assemble themselves into something new. These spheres are the central carriers of meaning and design elements within the works.

Artist Ruben Fro (Ruben Frosali), born near Florence, has lived and worked in Tokyo since 2006. His art is comprised of dynamic sceneries based on spherical picture parts. Fro describes himself as an, “(…) immersive media developer (…)” and a, “(…) real-time VFX artist (…)”, in other words an animator of movies. Besides creating various apps, he lectured at Wellington Victoria University and the University of Auckland on “point cloud rendering” and immersive media.

ROBNESS, Sediment Information and Color Theory, 2021, Edition 8

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Robness is one of the most successful Crypto artists around since its inception. He lives in the US and has been heavily involved in developing the use of NFT for art. Aside from publishing two books, he runs the decentralised Telegram clothing line “SadPlanet”, is a singer, DJ, music producer, sound engineer, and poet.The work we are exhibiting from him is part of an experiment critical of the art system. Anonymously, he has published his image on ‘Hic et Nunc’.

The work we are exhibiting from him is part of an experiment critical of the art system. Anonymously, he has published his image on ‘Hic et Nunc’.

Bjorn Calleja, Pure Comedy, 2019, Edition 1/1

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Bjorn Calleja, born in 1981 in Manila (Philippines), is an interdisciplinary artist. He became known for his paintings, sculptures, and installations.

Having studied at the Far Eastern University in Manila, he later also began work there as a lecturer. In addition to his artistic activities, Calleja worked as a graphic designer. His compositions are characterised by a mix of different media and influences, from the popular culture of the 90‘s to paintings by Hieronymus Bosch.

Again and again his works explore small, grotesque figures which appear as outcasts. The ensemble is underlined by a whimsical humour.

The NFT which we are displaying of his is a narrative of life. Exhaustively elaborated through a variety of Calleja’s paintings, the protagonist lives through the phases of coming into being and of death. 

Burka Bayram, Dancing Plague of 1518, 2021, Edition 20

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Burka Bayram, an art director from Istanbul, is co-founder of the design studio and collective ‘thinking.eye’. Bayram is the curator of NFT Turkey, a platform for Turkish NFT artists. 

We are currently exhibiting Bayram’s “Dancing Plague of 1518”. It concerns the dynamics of obsession. Entirely in black and white, one sees emblematic people dancing endlessly. 

The title refers to the “Dancing Plague” that broke out, among other places, in Strasbourg in 1518. This was a mass hysterical phenomenon in which large groups of people danced ecstatically until, exhausted or injured, they collapsed. Over the course of the late Middle Ages there were several waves of these events, also known as the “dance plague.”

Ivona Tau (mit Mark Pankurst), Electric Sheep #5, 2021
Edition 1/1 Exclusively for the Exhibition
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Ivona Tau (Tautke): Art and Artificial Intelligence – Who is the author of the artwork? 

Ivona Tau, born 1990 in Poland, lives and works in Warsaw. An AI artist, a core element of her work lies in the intersection of art and new technologies connected to machine learning.

In addition to Bachelor and Master’s degree in mathematics, she has completed a photography degree. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Computer Science at the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology and studying Professional Photography at the New York Institute of Photography. In 2020, she received the Digital Ars Electronica Award. 

The work on view in the gallery was generated by Tau exclusively for the exhibition.

Mumu_Thestan, Wombat Kiss, 2021, Edition 142

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Mumu_Thestan has many names on the internet – whilst sometimes one may read Mumu, and sometimes MOON HMZ, her civil name is Munira. Munira writes short stories and poems, performs on stage, and is a visual artist. Mumu_Thestan lives and works in Kuala-Lumpur, Malaysia. Her lyrics and writings in particular are reflective of the role of women in society and Malaysia and in general.

Displayed in the exhibition is “Wombat Kiss”, another example of Pixel Art.

Originally, “Wombat Kiss” was a visual thank-you from Mumu_Thestan to her friends and to supporters in the NFT community, posted on Instagram. “Wombat Kiss” oscillates between artistic playfulness and serious statement. To us, it’s an expression of the light-hearted profundity often found in NFT art. Similar to an Asian waving cat, the little wombat throws us kisses of thanks in endless repetition. What could be more beautiful?

Cryptohamster, Rider in Purgatory, 2021, Edition 20

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Cryptohamster is an artist who hides his identity behind a pseudonym, revealing only that: “My name in N.” Having lived for a long time in Thailand and Vietnam, he is currently trapped in Russia due to the pandemic.

Cryptohamster animates his drawings digitally. His distinguishing features are reduced aesthetics and restriction to the colours red, black, and white.

Estelle Flores, Winds of Change, 2021,
Edition 10

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Winds of Change is an image painted via avatar.

Estelle Flores graduated in graphic design from the Positivo University in Curitiba. The artist and illustrator, who still lives and works in the Brazilian city, co-founded the first risographic printing studio ‘Selva Press’ in Curitiba, through which she publishes her own works, as well as publications by invited artists.

Wind of Change is a digital painting created by Flores in the game ‘Sims 4’. The artist created an avatar which painted the image within the game’s virtual world. Ultimately, Flores makes use of the possibilities that the game developers have given her. The painter’s materials are no longer oil paint, but a computer game.

Pointline aka Iskra Velitschkova, Object 45110, 2021, Edition 100

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Artist Iskra Velitchkova’s work focuses on the present and potential interactions between humans and machines. In doing so, she does not believe that technology should be made more human, but that we need to advance technology in order to better understand ourselves.

Marissa Noana, Skincare Routine, 2021, Edition 23

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Marissa Noana is a new discovery for Galerie Greulich.

Marissa Noana is an artist from the north of Ceará, one of the 26 states of Brazil, and a region in which it is not easy for visual artists. Northern Ceará does not have a well-developed cultural infrastructure, and cultural support from the state is scarce. Noana studied fine arts at the Federal Institute of Ceará, and is part of the artist collective ‘Terroristas del Amor’.

Her works deal with the challenges of her own life as a lesbian, poor, black woman, as she puts it herself. It is about womanhood and femininity. In doing so, the young artist has developed a visual language whose presence lends universality to the autobiographical approaches of her art.

Indeed, Noana’s NFT’s manifest the great opportunity of Crypto and the digitalization of art. For a few months now, the Brazilian has been represented with her artworks on the NFT platform ‘Hic et Nunc’. There she was able to reach a worldwide audience, including us. Marissa invested her first sales into new computer technology to advance her artistic work.

Quasimondo, Mario Klingemann, Deposed 004, 2021, Edition 50

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Mario Klingemann is one of the most important – perhaps the most important – mastermind of Crypto art.

His fields of work are diverse. Klingemann is interested in the possibilities of machine learning and artificial intelligence to investigate creativity, culture, and the perception of art.

Klingemann’s artistic work deals with the creation of art in the age of technical reproducibility. In this respect, his work is the continuation of Walter Benjamin’s thinking in practical work.

Klingemann has received many important international awards for his works, including one of the Ars Electronica awards, the British Library Labs. His works are exhibited around the world in all major institutions which deal with the latest developments in art. These include the ZKM in Karlsruhe, Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the British Library in London, and the Mediacity Biennale in Seoul.

“Deposed 004” was created with the help of artificial intelligence. This image was generated from a creative pool of collected photographs by the algorithm developed by Klingemann. In general, the question arises here as to who is the artist: the developer of the algorithm, or the artificial intelligence.

Kerim Safa, Ambitious Factory of Pointless Reconstruction, 2021
Edition 25

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Kerim Safa, born in 1985 in Izmir (Turkey), studied Visual Arts there from 2003 to 2007. He subsequently studied music for 4 years at Istanbul Bilgi University, Istanbul. Currently, the artist lives and works in Utrecht (Netherlands) and “(…) likes to play with pixels and sound (…)”, as he himself describes.

Safa is a typical representative of Pixel Art. Here, the limited resolution capacity of screens is deliberately used as a stylistic device. However, Safa pushes the concept so far that individual pixels form the basis of his virtual-visual machines.

Satoshi Aizawa, 2021, Edition 64

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Satoshi Aizawa is an NFT artist based in Japan. His identity is also hidden behind his work.

Aizawa is one of the pioneers of generative art. He produces shapes in motion through digital coding of an object-oriented programming language. In principle, it comprises drawing using mathematical formulae.

Only recently has he begun generating NFTs.