Multidisciplinary conceptual artist Remi Picó lives and works in the city of Boston. He has been practicing as an artist since 2010, but did not reach his current career in a direct or conventional means by way of traditional education. From 2005 to 2017, he studied and worked as a researcher in biology, computer science, artificial intelligence (AI) and nanotechnologies at University College London, Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Picó started his artistic career in 2010 during his PhD at University College London, collaborating with the artist Josh Baum at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, making kinetics sculptures using water and its interaction with various materials. In 2012 he moved to Boston to work as a postdoctoral researcher fellow at the Harvard Medical School on cancer biology using AI and experimental biology, only later moving to work as an AI researcher for the creative industry while also starting his own artistic career path.
Picó’s art now hangs among twelve other artists’ at Beacon Gallery in our current group exhibition, ‘Coded’, which explores the “code” or languages both artists and viewers utilize in creating, experiencing, and sharing art. In introducing past work, Picó has explained that, “[his] work attempts – both formally and conceptually – to answer the question “how does our idea of reality change when language is transformed, weakened or even silenced?”. Whether articulated as a painting, 3d installations, or video art, [Picó’s] work points to these questions by portraying spaces in which language evanesces, human conventions disappear and our constructed-reality fades away”.
We were happy to check in with the artist during Coded’s opening preparations to hear more.
What was your path to becoming an artist? How did you develop your artistic style and how has it evolved over time?
I am an Italian multidisciplinary researcher and conceptual artist. My trajectory towards art is quite unconventional. I have been a researcher in computational sciences, artificial intelligence, biological, and nanotechnologies sciences at University College London (UK), Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology in London, London Center for Nanotechnologies, Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (USA).
I started my artistic career during my PhD at University College London collaborating with various artists in London. At the beginning my artistic practice was mainly connected to my science experience and focused on making kinetic sculptures and collaborating with other artists. I started my solo artistic career in 2012 after I moved to Boston to work as postdoctoral researcher at the Harvard Medical School. Since then I have worked on a variety of artistic enquiries and developed lines of work on language/semiotics, temporality, reality, de-subjectivization and contemporary archaeology through painting, 3d installation and video-art and showed my art in the USA and Europe.
Compared to 5 years ago, what do you think has changed the most about your artistic process?
At the beginning of my artistic career in London I worked mainly in collaboration with other artists. I started building kinetic sculptures using unconventional materials like water. This work started by the artist Josh Baum at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London and my role in the project was to help the artist to research materials and methods to deploy the kinetic interaction of water at micro and nano-scale level. After I moved to Boston in 2012 I spent various years working on defining my solo art practice. During that period I experimented with a wide variety of art techniques and produced many lines of works using different media. In the last two years my art practice has become more concentrated on combining lines of work in a deeper and more cohesive narrative.
What specific aspect of your work do you most emphasize or focus on when creating artwork?
The conceptual aspect is very important for my creative process and motivations. I like to work in series and very often new ideas originate from past works. I like to follow the stream of ideas that continuously emerges during the making and conceptualization of the work. I’m not focused on a single concept, style or media. We are living in very challenging and interesting times, and I strongly feel that the role of the artist today is also to embrace the complexity and richness of our contemporary life and I am fully committed to bring this opportunity into my art practice
What inspires your work? How do you decide on a subject matter? Do you have any particular routines to motivate your creativity?
Depending on the phase and the specific work, in general what inspires me is the relationship between nature, us – as human beings – and creativity. Writing is a very important part of my practice. I constantly write about my work. I write about everything that interests me and I want to explore and understand. Very often new ideas and the subject matter for new works come during the writing.
What message do you attempt to convey in your artwork, in general?
I don’t want to convey one specific message, in my artworks you find multiple messages often in contradiction. I intentionally keep ‘undefined’ the communication between the artwork and the audience. I want my art to inspire the audience and myself to be more creative. I believe that creativity is at the essence of being human and part of nature and also that creativity flourishes from ‘the contradiction’ and the tension between what I call the ‘undefined’ and the ‘defined’ worlds. One interesting way I found to create this tension and contradictions I was mentioning is by ‘fooling’ the defining power of our language and communication. Language after all is just a deal between us to be able to communicate and depending on its use it can restrict or enhance our creativity.
What projects are you working on right now? What would you like to accomplish in the near or distant future?
Currently I have been working on a large project between artificial intelligence, science and art in collaboration with a known science research institution in London, the terms of the project are still under definition and I prefer to keep the name of the institution confidential for now, but more details about it will be released soon on my website (remipico.com) and social networks. At a broader level the main aim of this project is to experiment with a new interdisciplinary and collaborative paradigm overarching art, artificial intelligence and the good of public health, which uses Art as a resonance chamber but also as a barometer of scientific outcomes and how they are perceived from the public.The final artwork will be in the form of a public site specific video-installation and will be shown first in London and then in other venues in Europe and USA.
Special thanks to Remi for taking the time to share more with us! To keep up with his work, follow his instagram page @remipicoart and his website http://www.remipico.com
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