Insta-Hochney: What does it mean to make art works in this age? | Sunday Observer

Insta-Hochney: What does it mean to make art works in this age?

20 November, 2022

Insta-Hochney is an exhibition of the artworks of Bilaal Raji Saheed, and is also the launch of the NFT collection. The collection deals with a moment in time, where art history and technology merge in an irresistible whirlwind of possibilities and with it comes a whole host of questions that are at once terrifying and invigorating.

What is the place of an artist in a world where it is asserted that AI can create anything that the human mind can conceive? What is the future of art in a world that is more reliant on digital technology as its main modus operandi for creative expression?

How can artists monetize their art form when it is easily replicable and infinitely disseminated? Is this a passing phase or a lasting Zeitgeist in the making? These and more questions are explored in the exhibition that brings together web3, nfts, AI into juxtaposition with art history, traditional painting and creative tribute.

When the boundaries between art and technology are increasingly fused, and the edges of culture and geography are easily polarized or homogenized, the bigger questions of the humanities are ever more pertinent.. What does it mean to make art in this age? And what does the future of technology bring out in our cultural endeavours?

Bilaal Taji Saheed

Bilaal Taji Saheed is a multidisciplinary artist, designer and architect working in London and Colombo. He has an MA from the Royal College of Arts, where his thesis explored the spatial politics of the Nuclear Family and its impact on art and design.

He explores themes of form, identity and spirituality and works across multiple mediums and disciplines including AI generated contemporary art, sculpture, interiors and digital design. His work is made using paper, pixels, concrete, acrylics and pencil among other materials. His most recent body of work plays with re-interpretations of popular artworks at the intersection of current affairs and technology.

He has exhibited in group shows in Hong Kong and London, and this was his first solo exhibition in Colombo.

About the collection

The collection uses British Pop artist, David Hockney’s ‘A Bigger Splash’ as a starting point to examine varying themes in artistic, technological and cultural expression. New characters begin to inhabit ‘A bigger splash’, taking its original stillness and occupying it with whimsy, wit and metaphor.

Some of the pieces are hand drawn, painted or stenciled in, while some are collaged, digitally manipulated or generated with artificial intelligence.

Some exist in the digital realm as pixels and NFT’s, while others are tangible or start their life digitally and become tactile. The stories they tell vary, and they showcase but a tiny snippet of the myriad directions you can go to from a single starting point in terms of narrative, medium and outcome.