Claudia Hart’s latest project, the RUINS COMBINES (2021) reinterprets classical memento mori, traditionally a means of contemplating the passage of time and cultural decay. In this group of still life artworks, Hart revises the canons of Modernist painting by means of the low-resolution polygon models traditionally used in massive-multiplayer online games.
Playfully enacting forgery, Hart copies Modernist masterpieces in the form of a ‘handmade’ digital model which she then hand-paints to create low-poly models – poor copies or “images,” to borrow the term popularized by Hito Steyerl. This work borrows from Matisse, one of the canonical painters at the onset of Modernism and one of the first artists whose paintings are authorized by copyright, a legal construction of ownership that marks the beginning of Modernism.
The idea of copyright came into being in response to photography, the emerging technology of the early 20th century, just as our own current digital age has once more reinvented scarcity but now in the form of an NFT, which has been encoded and distributed across a blockchain. Hart then composes her low-resolution models to create elegant still lives in the form of a high-resolution TIFF file, playing metaphorically with the idea of painting as an authentic object.