Guillaume Kurkdjian: GIFted Programs

Guillaume Kurkdjian

Monster Attack. Guillaume Kurkdjian

Paris-based artist Guillaume Kurkdjian works as an illustrator, animator, photographer, and font designer, but his real passion is creating bite-sized scenarios as GIFs. The Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) for still digital images has been around since the late 1980s. More recently, animated GIFs have been made possible with the graphics control extension, which permits images to layer with time delays to produce an animation loop compact enough to feature smoothly online and even as textable moving images. The required smallness of GIFs forces a certain economy in terms of image size, palette, and loop duration; limitations that can be liberating and useful to prompting experimentation within a given framework.

Kurkdjian has created a number of GIF sets including ones focused on electronics, monsters, vehicles, and maps. The focus of this exhibition is on his Bisous les copains (Kissing Friends) series featuring an array of pastel isometric environments — buildings, landscapes, machines — populated by tiny figures forever negotiating various threats. Humor and gentleness permeate even the most dire of these situations as narratives take shape. Modeling is central to the process, as is the artist's conception of new work in three dimensions.

Raised and educated in Nantes, France, Kurkdjian heads La Maison Wertn, a creative online magazine based on interdisciplinary collaborations between photographers, musicians, illustrators, animators, and the occasional architect. His work has been reviewed in Gizmodo, The Verge, Graphism, and Wired. This is his first exhibition in the United States.

This exhibition is curated by Visiting Associate Professor Mark Morris, director of exhibitions.