Keith Tyson

(b. 1969)

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(1969– )

British artist, born in Ulverston, Cumbria. He trained at Carlisle College of Art and the University of Brighton. His work demonstrates a fascination with scientific systems and also their limitations, ‘the difference between the scientific reductionist view and experience’. One theme is the idea of unpredictability. The Thinker is a powerful computer without any connection to a display that would provide a way of knowing just what it is ‘thinking’. This is contrasted with Tyson's own wall drawings, which make visible his own thought processes and responses to external events. Another work is a tower of newspapers. Tyson had bought up every copy of every newspaper on sale at London Bridge station on a certain day. The work was the effect on all those people who would normally have bought and read those newspapers, who would now have to find something else to do. The Art Machine was a device to generate instructions for Tyson to produce art. The demands were sometimes precise, sometimes vague, and sometimes wildly impractical, as when it instructed to make a painting with pigment 18 inches thick or bounce a Morse code message off the moon. As Tyson admits, there is an element of trust involved in this and the viewer cannot be certain the artist has not simply found a way of rationalizing what he would like to do anyway. Tyson won the Turner Prize in 2002.

Further Reading

‘Where the banal and bizarre collide’, The Daily Telegraph (16 January 2002)

Subjects: Art.

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