Raising the Roof

"Strata #3" by Quayola

Growing up in Rome, digital artist Quayola (whose illustrious clients have included Nike, Jay-Z and Kylie Minogue) was immersed in a world defined by Renaissance art and architecture. Now based in London, his latest non-commercial work explores the dislocation he feels between those traditional masterpieces and his modern experience by digitally dissecting, augmenting and crystallizing such tourist traps as Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and the frescoed churches of Rome. “We are surrounded by this kind of iconic imagery—my interest was to detach from it,” Quayola says of his recent Strata series. For his newest, Strata #3, he took to the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux, France, an 18th-century building that is home to an elaborate cupola fresco by Jean Baptiste Robin (XVII). Working with high-resolution photographs of the interior, Quayola used his own custom software to transform the colors and lines of the painting (via a mathematical technique of triangulation invented by orphist painter Robert Delaunay) into an architectural 3D mesh, which he then animated to stunning effect. “This idea of triangulation is a trend in contemporary architecture,” he says. “It’s fascinating to use a contemporary aesthetic and techniques with the same rules as an ancient masterpiece to drive it. The painting becomes architecture in a way.”

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