In 2016, the present longs for the past. The current art, music, and pop-culture climates are experiencing a nostalgic resurgence of bygone styles. Thanks to Instagram, square-format photography and faded filters dominate image making. Musicians are recording analog albums and releasing them on vinyl. Cinemas are once more showing films in 70mm. From fashion to fonts, cars to cameras, “vintage” is all the rage.
This nostalgic influence has appeared throughout history. Even in centuries past, artists and creators have always sought inspiration from their predecessors, particularly from ancient Greeks and Romans. 19th century illustrator Gustave Doré depicted Odysseus, Arachne, and the Greek isle of Patmos in his sinister monochrome prints. Doré also illustrated the works of Dante, including Inferno and Divine Comedy, with his signature style of evocative light and haunting shadow. In June of 2013, Hilton | Asmus artist Marco Nereo Rotelli utilized some of Doré's Inferno imagery during his sound and light installation at the Field Museum.
Hilton | Asmus Contemporary is continuing the tradition of ancient inspiration with a series of exhibitions titled “Inspired by Antiquity.” In concurrence with the Field Museum’s groundbreaking exhibition “The Greeks: From Agamemnon to Alexander," Hilton | Asmus Contemporary is highlighting five modern artists whose work is inspired by antiquity. The gallery will host an “Evening With The Artist” each month through April 2016.
Our series begins on the evening of January 27th with artist, historian and compelling storyteller, Terry Poulos. Poulos will be presenting his sculpture titled “ART-ikythera Mechanism,” an artistic homage to the world’s first computer, the “Antikythera Mechanism.” Named after a Greek island near its underwater location of discovery, the Antikythera Mechanism is considered the world’s first computer. The invention dates back to 205 BC and was used to predict eclipses, alignment of celestial objects, procession of the equinoxes, planetary movement, and optimal times and locations to host the ancient Olympic games.
Recent studies have suggested the mechanism originated in colonies of Corinth, an ancient city-state located on a stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesian Peninsula to Greece’s mainland. One of Corinth’s colonies, Syracuse, was home to the illustrious mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer, Archimedes. Though research is still underway, perhaps connections occur between the astronomical investigations of Archimedes and the development of the Antikythera Mechanism.
In 2012, BBC released a documentary entitled The Two-Thousand-Year-Old Computer presenting the history of the mechanism, including its unearthing from the bottom of the sea in 1901.
Constructed of old, cast-iron farm implements, and a green patina evoking oxidized bronze, Poulos’ “ART-ikythera Mechanism” pays tribute to an example of historical brilliance in the field of technology and science.
Join us from 6 to 8 pm on Wednesday, January 27th as we listen to Poulos recount history, describe his creative process, and make us laugh with his quick wit and humor as he presents the “ART-ikythera Mechanism.”
Written by Lindsey Altongy