Cheyney Thompson: Drunks

Cheyney Thompson: Drunks

stochastic process painting 10 by cheyney thompson

Cheyney Thompson

Stochastic Process Painting 10, 2014

stochastic process painting 9 by cheyney thompson

Cheyney Thompson

Stochastic Process Painting 9, 2014

stochastic process painting 5 by cheyney thompson

Cheyney Thompson

Stochastic Process Painting 5, 2014

stochastic process painting 4 by cheyney thompson

Cheyney Thompson

Stochastic Process Painting 4, 2014

installation view

Installation view

Saturday, June 7, 2014Saturday, July 26, 2014

223 Cambridge Heath Road
London, E2 0EL United Kingdom

Under the title Drunks Cheyney Thompson (* 1975, lives in New York) presents in his fifth solo exhibition at Campoli Presti a group of new paintings.

The science of economics developed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries predominantly in the medium of language. The impact of set theoretical and topological reasoning after World War II finally put this verbal tradition to an end. Paralleled by the mathematization of economics from the 1950’s onwards, finance slowly moved from the margins of curricula at business schools to the center of value production. Its rise during the 1990’s marks the technical actualization – mathematical models drawn with pencil on paper were put to the test with the help of computers – of an epistemic shift, which has been in prolonged hibernation. As early as in 1900, Louis Bachelier discusses in his doctoral thesis “The Theory of Speculation” the application of stochastic processes to evaluate stock options. It has since marked the most general strand, that has not only transformed the study of finance, but the functioning of markets themselves. Bachelier's main thesis is that the prices of stocks and similar securities follow a random walk and therefore the mathematical theory of probability can be applied, which was complemented in the 1960’s by an argument that explicated this. Prices follow a random path, since any information available prescribes their development. This is taken into account by speculators and thus cancelled out. Markets are efficient and only therefore subject to the arithmetics of chance.

A variant of such a random walk algorithm is put to work in this exhibition by Cheyney Thompson in order to produce paintings. With regards to the paintings on view, its meander is placed into a threedimensional colour-system conceptualized by Albert Munsell at the turn of the last century, which has been deployed by Thompson during the past years in order to tie his practice to the possibility of a rigorous quantification of colour. The algorithm is programmed to cover a distance of 8032 steps. The diverse positions the line drawn by it within the solid of Munsell’s´colour model can be translated into amounts of different hues, saturations and values – square centimetres– Thompson finally applies on canvas. The algorithm – as a model which produces nothing but colour quantities and as information the beholder knows about – withdraws the surfaces of the tableaux from the possibility to read their compositions as indices of intention. The articulated brush traces, which ought to do nothing but spend the material, apparently struggle to escape the habitus of the painter. They are fraudulent in the sense that they cannot become an object of judgement. This is precisely so because one cannot even confirm by merely looking at them the application of their rule.

What they produce is a perspective from which the painter as well as the viewer are excluded. They are opaque, not where their redundant materiality becomes visible, but by means of their reduction to an abstract informatization, which mirrors the intangibility of economic processes that they nonetheless break down within the finite form of painting: a test pad for the non-liveable.

Simon Baier

Cheyney Thompson’s work is part of the permanent collections of MoMA, New York and Centre Pompidou, Paris. He recently had a solo survey exhibition at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Massachusetts with an accompanying monograph and was included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial. Past exhibitions include The Complete Reference: Pedestals and Drunken Walks (solo) at Kunstverein Braunschweig, Chat Jet - Painting ‘Beyond’ The Medium at Künstlerhaus Graz; The Indiscipline of Painting at Tate St Ives; Systems Analysis at West London Projects and Langen Foundation, Germany; Greater New York at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center and Clandestine at The Venice Biennial 2003.