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New Art, Flag Art, Good Art, Portal Art with Ian Cheng

Artist Ian Cheng’s work explores the nature of mutation and the capacity of humans to relate to change. Drawing on principles of video-game design, improvisation, and cognitive science, Cheng has developed “live simulations,” living virtual ecosystems that begin with basic programmed properties but are left to self-evolve without authorial intent or end. His simulations model the dynamics of often-imaginative organisms and objects, but do so with the unforgiving causality found in nature itself. What results is a cascade of emergent behaviors that the artist can manage but never truly control. Cheng describes his simulations as akin to a “neurological gym”: a format for viewers to deliberately exercise feelings of confusion, anxiety, and cognitive dissonance that accompany the experience of unrelenting change. Through simulations, Cheng wonders if it’s possible to love these difficult feelings and refactor our relationship to indeterminacy as a feature of being alive today, not a bug.

Ian Cheng was born in Los Angeles in 1984 and lives and works in New York. Venues of his current and recent solo exhibitions include Espace Louis Vuitton München; MoMA PS1, New York; Migros Museum, Zurich; Pilar Corrias Gallery, London; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; Kunsthalle Düsseldorf; La Triennale di Milano; and Standard (Oslo). Cheng’s work has appeared in group exhibitions at the Yokohama Museum of Art; Les Abattoirs, Musée FRAC Occitanie, Toulouse; Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf; Shanghai Himalayas Museum; Tate Modern, London; Whitney Museum, New York; Jewish Museum, New York; Yuz Museum, Shanghai; Liverpool Biennial; MOCA, Cleveland; Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC; Musee d’Art Moderne, Paris; Taipei Fine Arts Museum; and Pilar Corrias Gallery, London.