Nicky Broekhuysen

We’ve always interacted with information, that is one of the characteristics of being human – the ability to understand, produce and share information as we navigate our world. Information forms the building blocks of perception and belief, which we are constantly constructing about ourselves, and the world around us.

How we interact with information and form these perceptions and beliefs is deeply consequential right now as we transition from an analogue world to a digital one. I initially began working in binary code, 1 and 0 as I recognised these two numbers as a visual language with which to explore this transition. In recent years I have focused more on binary numbers 1 and 0 as tools of the ‘now’ in which I probe, dig and question what is reality in an increasingly illogical and absurd world. Who am I? And how do I construct ‘self’ in this digital age. What became evident, and what the digital is exposing, is just how easily our beliefs, our sense of ‘self’ can be constructed and manipulated. Once we become aware of how information creates we can take a more active and conscious role in what we construct.

Artists are practiced at taking information from a thought to an idea to a physical form, yet every human is creating and constructing every day. Indeed creativity is a fundamental principle of life; it is visible everywhere. Nature, which is life, is creativity in action, shaping, forming, breaking, building, birthing it creates and re-creates its’ self. Its’ tool in this creative act is DNA. DNA forms the creative template, the basic building block of life. All life on earth shares these same basic building blocks – proteins A, C, G, T, which hold information. How these proteins and their information is arranged and sequenced, allows for all the variations and potentials of life. DNA is life’s brushstroke – it’s design tool from which it creates itself.

In my work I show a world where binary code is the dominant expression of creativity in the contemporary human experience. Indeed we live in a world of information where the building blocks are data - binary numbers 1 and 0, depending on how they are arranged and sequenced, they create and store information. As we navigate this digital world, we encounter this information. Over time it collects and clumps together to form thoughts, ideas and eventually beliefs. These beliefs form an inner template through which we now perceive the world, eventually creating societies and cultures, which in turn reinforce these beliefs.

So how do I construct ‘self’? Sometimes consciously but mostly unconsciously through my ‘beliefs template’, which in turn shapes my inner and outer realities. ‘Creatorship’ is this process and the act of taking ownership of this process – it is the understanding that like nature, I create my ‘self’ and my self becomes a building block for the collective ‘ourselves’. Just as the universe is nature’s blank canvas, so too is it ours. It is filled with the potential for active intention – of choosing what you wish to create and build in your life. Each painting for me becomes a physical act in this process of creatorship. I choose to create works that embody a sense of connectivity, calm and beauty. They are my brushstrokes. In them the potential for change is always present, never fixed in code, the numbers are always caught in a moment of dynamic change, of evolution between forms. I believe that creativity is the engine of change in every soul.

Nicky Broekhuysen was born in 1981 in South Africa. At the age of 13 her family moved to New Zealand where she completed her studies. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Auckland University, she moved to Shanghai, China in 2006. It was in Shanghai that she first began working with binary numbers 1 and 0. In 2008 Broekhuysen moved to Berlin, Germany where she continued to develop her language of binary code, exhibiting both in Berlin and internationally for the following 11 years. Recently, in 2019 she has relocated her studio to The Pyrenees in France to be closer to nature and where she continues to create and exhibit. Broekhuysen is represented by Davidson Gallery in New York.

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