Refik Anadol is a Turkish-American artist and pioneer of a practice he calls ‘data painting’. A TED Fellow and former artist-in-residence at Google, Anadol has spent the best part of a decade using quantum computing and artificial intelligence algorithms to transform raw information into abstract art. He lives and works in Los Angeles.
At the core of Anadol’s work is a fascination with how machines can augment human experiences. ‘In my practice, I often ask myself the question: how would a computer collaborate with us to make art that is not only futuristic, but also about the possibility of various futures?’ he has said. ‘I do think that we approach answering this question only when we combine research efforts in various fields, including neuroscience, architecture, quantum computing, material science, philosophy and arts.’
Anadol was born in Istanbul. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography and Video and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Bilgi University in Turkey. In 2014, after graduating from UCLA with a second Master of Fine Arts degree, he opened his own studio. Eight years later, his team had grown to 15 staff.
In 2019, Anadol awarded the Lumen Prize for his work Melting Memories. The digital artwork, which explores the materiality of remembering and was inspired by his uncle’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, transforms brain scans into data paintings, augmented data sculptures and light projections.
Between 2020 and 2022, Anadol exhibited work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, the Venice Architecture Biennale and the National Gallery of Victoria Triennial in Australia. He has also received commissions from Walt Disney and Hennessy.
In May 2022, Christie’s offered Anadol’s Living Architecture: Casa Batló, an NFT minted four weeks prior. The work — the first live, dynamic and generative NFT of its kind — was inspired by Antoni Gaudí’s Barcelona monument of the same name and composed of environmental data gathered in real-time from around the UNESCO-protected building. It sold for $1.3 million.
‘I am extremely grateful to the NFT community for supporting my work,’ said Anadol. ‘The NFT world has given my studio economic independence.’
The artist also added that the profits he makes from NFT sales are split between reinvesting in his studio and various charities.