Groundbreaking Artificial Intelligence art exhibition to open at Somerset House

Scott Eaton, Fall of the Damned, 2019 © Scott Eaton

A truly groundbreaking Artificial Intelligence art exhibition will open at Somerset House on June 18. Entitled Artist+AI: Figures & Form in the Age of Intelligent Machines, it features a new series of works by Scott Eaton, an artist who has worked for Disney and Pixar as well as collaborating with Jeff Koons, Mark Wallinger and Elton John.

Eaton’s work explores the representation of the human figure through various mediums — drawing, sculpture, photography, and generative AI. For this transformative exhibition he utilises the latest Artificial Intelligence technology and for the first time allows viewers to see how this converges with the centuries old practices of drawing and sculpture.

All of the featured works are a result of a dynamic interaction between Scott’s traditionally-trained hand and the AI tools he has ‘taught’ to work as his assistants. In doing so, Eaton, an interdisciplinary artist with a background in anatomy, sculpture and engineering, underscores the impact AI is set to have on art-making and in particular how it will change our perception and understanding of the human form.

Scott Eaton, Contemplating Mass Unemployment II, 2019. © Scott Eaton

Eaton creates and trains AI to translate his drawings and animation into photographic, figurative representations as well as abstracted sculptural forms. His interest in this emerging field of AI is not in creating agents that ‘create art’ autonomously, but rather in making art ‘assistants’, AI collaborators that take direction and enhance the creative possibilities available to the human artist.

One of the most exciting works in the exhibition is Eaton’s re-imagining of Peter Paul Ruben’s 1620 masterpiece Fall of the Damned. In order to do this the artist created one thousand hand drawn figures which are then subsequently painted using a trained AI neural network to spectacular effect.

Peter Paul Rubens, The Fall of the Damned, 1620, Oil paint (left) and Scott Eaton, Fall of the Damned, 2019 © Scott Eaton (right)

There is global interest in the power of AI across all industries and it seems a number of artists are engaging with it as a new medium, or in Eaton’s case a studio-assistant as well. While instituions and auction houses have cottoned on to the growing interest in AI, as per the Barbican’s current AI festival / exhibition, AI: More Than Human, Eaton’s upcoming exhibition truly offers something unique — the chance to witness the full process of creation.

Indeed, Figures & Form in the Age of the Intelligent Machines is composed of three parts: first, animation showing timelapses of drawings and sculpture emerging from the AI cauldron; second, a series of drawings and prints of the collaborative compositions; and third, a selection of sculptures realised in the round by artist + AI. The work resonates diverse influences ranging from Klimt, Schiele and Bacon to Rodin and Boccioni.

Scott Eaton, Hyperbolic Composition 1, © Scott Eaton

As Eaton states the results of this unique collaboration are often wondrous and unexpected, I have no doubt that this exhibition will be exactly that.

For more Information:

Somerset House, New Wing, G16, London WC2R 1LA

Opening Hours: 10–6pm

Exhibition Dates: June 18–23

Freelance journalist covering fine art, photography, film and tech. UK based

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