Ivona Tau’s work is driven by the “metaphysical act of imagination” – worlds to get lost in. Aged 18, she became fascinated by photography as a way to observe the world and capture her changing surroundings. Tau started with her grandfather’s eighties Lomo LC-A lomography camera, allowing her to play with colour and texture, already going down the path of abstraction and the surreal. Growing up in Vilnius, and studying Mathematics in Warsaw, she witnessed the cities’ shift from a post-Soviet world to a Western and capitalist one. Today, the combination of cityscapes as utopias and/or dystopias is at the centre of Tau’s practice.
Later in life, she decided to combine her mathematical and computer knowledge with her taste for painting and photography – this practice of assemblage of medium, or merging of forms, enables Tau to create with wonder as she navigates the possibilities of technology. Interested in combining her surroundings and personal history into a computer-generated visuality, works such as Synthetic Still Lives, made with AI, feature objects found in her flat. For Tau, AI “allows seeing the world in a different way, beyond traditional conceptions.” Using different kinds of AIs, she trains her own models, turning them into personal tools – as individual as a painter’s stroke. Tau creates and breaks her compositions, playing with what the most recent technology has to offer to art making. This also enables her to revisit her own photographic archive – from her numerous meditative walks in the cities she lives in, such as in her series Blue Hours, 2020 – 2021, which explores the notions of solitude and absence in urban environments. Tau’s visual language blends futuristic aesthetics and cyber-punk culture. Oscillating between the hyper-realistic and the hyper-surrealist, the viewer becomes transfixed by the composition.
Illusion and fantasy are also key sources of inspiration for the artist, such as in the work of Man Ray (1890 – 1976) and Dora Maar (1907 – 1977), through to the contemporary experimental photography of Max Passadore, the cinema of David Lynch (b. 1946), and the colours of William Eggleston (b. 1939) and David LaChapelle (b. 1963). In darkrooms, Tau continues to experiment with her practice, using photography to shape new realities. More recently, Tau started to combine AI with long-form generative art – art that involves a coded random process – enabling the viewer to become a participant, creating their own model output. Interested in interactiveness, Tau aspires to create more immersive pieces. A mixed-media artist or coder artist, technology enables Tau to explore ideas of memory and imagination.
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