Juha van Ingen’s Web Safe in the Centre Pompidou’s Online Exhibition of Digital Art

Juha van Ingen’s Web Safe (1999–2000) is included in the online exhibition of digital art by Centre Pompidou. “Sans objet. 9 abstract works made for the web browser” is on view until November 19 2021. The online exhibit groups 9 creations, from the 1990s – that saw the first “net art” artists develop the idea that a website could be a work of art in its own right – to today. It invites the viewer to explore this form of digital creation, whether built in reference to the history of painting or by exploring the specificity of digital tools.

The programme notes by the curator Philippe Bettinelli state:

“Though Finnish artist Juha van Ingen has been recently noticed for his work As long as possible, a gif file that lasts 1000 years, he was already creating works that combined abstraction and net art at the end of the 90s. Within his body of works, Web-Safe is certainly the most radical: nurtured by a reflection on the history of the monochrome and American structural film, it consists in a succession of perfect color blocks. These actually display the 212 hexadecimal numerals of color that could be exactly reproduced by first generation web browsers. Therefore, the image is not displayed by a browser but actually produced by it: a work that is both contemplative and purely specific to its medium, that produces a succession of colors displayed in a loop according to their order in the used code.

Through Web-Safe, Juha van Ingen also pursues a reflection on the standardization of the visible order, the limits of copyright, and the spread of images online. A copy of this work is held today at Kiasma museum of contemporary art, in Helsinki and another is being acquired by the Musée national d’art moderne.” 

Juha van Ingen (b. 1963) lives and works in Helsinki, Finland. He works with different mediums, though he has mainly been working with video. The starting point for van Ingen’s works is often a situation, space or a concept, which he happens to encounter. Random elements that evolve during the working processes play an equally important role in his works. Van Ingen has participated in international exhibitions, screenings and video festivals since 1988. 

Sans objet. 9 abstract works made for the web browser, May 19 – November 19 2021, Centre Pompidou

More information: Centre Pompidou