John Gerrard is one of the key contemporary artists working with technology today.

He uses customised 3D computer-gaming software to create a real-time virtual landscape from hundreds of original location photographs. Slow 360-degree orbital movement is set within a real 24-hour day, 365-day year. This is one of a pair of works about Cuban schools set in different parts of the Cuban countryside. The buildings were constructed in the 1960s to a modular Eastern Bloc design, and belong to a period in the island’s history when the optimism of early revolutionary socialist models of housing provision was giving way to large-scale mass-produced accommodation. Although no longer used as an art school, this building is still home to some schoolchildren. Like the system and technology that gave birth to it, the structure has crumbled, and the artist is interested in how it is now essentially a ‘functional ruin’. The Art Fund’s gift of the work was enthusiastically supported by the Sfumato Foundation, whose spokeman said: ‘John Gerrard’s practice and technique produces works that are both visually and intellectually stimulating and have a strong aesthetic quality. The Sfumato Foundation is pleased to support the purchase of his work both to strengthen mima’s own collection, and to help remedy the paucity of digital works of art currently held in UK public collections.’


The artist.

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