The press release for a new series of digital paintings by husband and wife duo Rob and Nick Carter states that it “creates rare intersection between Old Master connoisseurship and contemporary new media art.” Technically that’s true, but it’s a bit like describing a parachute jump purely in terms of physics, shorn of the visceral emotional response so central to the experience. Because Transforming is (to coin a phrase) f**k-me fantastic. Working with visual effects experts MPC, Rob and Nick have taken four 16th and 17th Century paintings and turned them into staggeringly impressive living pieces; so flowers wilt, maggots ooze out of a dead frog and the reclining nude stirs in her sleep.
The brilliance lies in the painstaking efforts to disguise the fact that these are HD screens; from the ornate frames to the incredible realistic matte effects of the surfaces you are genuinely surprised when one of the moving parts does just that. The recent decision to display the work in Mayfair’s Fine Art Society only added to the wrongfooting of gallery-goers, not used to this kind of experience in such elegantly austere surroundings.
Frustratingly filmed footage of the final works is forbidden but hopefully through the making-of below you get a sense of what Rob and Nick have managed to pull off.