One of the first book-length publications on contemporary artist Cheyney Thompson, whose work is known for its radically forward-looking intellectualism and formal rigor.
Cheyney Thompson’s (b. 1975) work responds to a long history of debates about how art depicts the world, and about how we come to know the world visually. In these meditations on the artist’s work, Christian Schaernack shows that for Thompson, reality is something that we can know only in terms of probabilities, not absolutes. Thompson often produces work that explores contingency at the formal level, sometimes in his artistic process itself (as Jackson Pollock once did), and sometimes through the use of external constraints such as computer algorithms, which he subverts as often as he follows.
The meaning of observation has changed time and time again in the history of art, just as it has in the history of science. Delving into art history, intellectual history, and contemporary continental philosophy, Schaernack offers a multifaceted study of an artist who challenges our assumptions about how the world is ordered. From Thompson’s early “black paintings” to his Chronochromes to the Stochastic Process Paintings, which engage with the algorithms that govern our digital lives, Schaernack presents a contemporary artist whose work embraces chance and responds to the shifting conditions of the present. This is art that reimagines artwork itself.
About the Author
Christian Schaernack is a Berlin-based arts journalist who has covered arts since the mid-1990s, including extensive writing for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.