Aziz + Cucher /   Anthony Aziz and Sammy Cucher

United States 1961

Digital Art, Video Art


Aziz + Cucher
Anthony Aziz and Sammy Cucher
United States
March 16, 2016

Anthony Aziz and Samuel Cucher, also known as Aziz + Cucher duo, have been among the first visual artists to use Photoshop, which is nowadays the most common tool of every digital artist. Aziz and his Peruvian fellow artist Cucher have been working together since 1992 and they are regarded as pioneers of digital art and experimental artists in multiple fields, such as sculpture, animation and video installation. The central idea of Aziz and Cucher’s work is the impact of technology and modern lifestyle on the human body and consciousness.

Aziz + Cucher - Some people, 2012
Aziz + Cucher – Some people, 2012

The New Media

Aziz and Cucher didn’t know each other before they got enrolled in their MFA programs. Aziz got his BA at Boston College, while Cucher went to Tisch School of the Arts in New York City. They both got their MFAs from San Francisco Art Institute in 1990, two years before they officially started their collaboration. While still in school, Aziz and Cucher discovered they are both interested in the artistic potential of the new media such as digital imaging and video art. This shared curiosity set the ground for their future collaboration. In the 90s, the impact of computers, the internet and generally speaking the reign of digital was growing stronger and faster, which made Aziz + Cucher wonder what will happen to us, human beings, made of flesh and bones. What kind of modifications will our bodies and minds have to go through in order to adapt to the digital environment? Is the human perception going to significantly change so that it can catch up with all the technological advances around us? Aziz + Cucher tried to answer and perhaps pose even more questions in the following series – The Dystopia (1994 – 95), Interior (1999 – 02) and Synaptic Bliss (2003 – 07).

Lack of human contact, the central idea of The Dystopia series

Aziz + Cucher - After man ray, 1994
Aziz + Cucher – After man ray, 1994

Body Dysmorphia Digitalized

There’s a common motif when it comes to the above-mentioned series of Aziz and Cucher’s work – the human skin. Our skin is both literally and figuratively a barrier between the world inside and outside of us. Aziz + Cucher are ingeniously using this idea in their series Dystopia, where the additional layer of skin is covering human orifices such as eyes or mouth, suggesting the possible lack of human contact and face-to-face conversations. Aziz + Cucher believe this may happen as a by-product of the technological progress. Their Interior series also conveys the idea of human skin, but this time in an architectural sense. Large digital images in pinkish tones of human flesh are representing walls and hallways made of human skin. This series is quite repulsive and again strongly dystopic, reducing a human body to skin omnipresent in the barren landscapes.

Synaptic Bliss series is made in a different medium – it is a 4-channel video installation, held for the first time at the festival Villette Numerique in Paris, in 2004. The main idea behind these video pieces revolves around raising our consciousness level with the progress of technology so that we can become more aware of our surroundings. During the video installation, the human body is gradually getting transformed into a landscape of intertwined colors and forms, suggesting that new channels of information transfer may appear inside our bodies in the future, which would transform our current level of consciousness.

Dystopia as a Popular Theme

Aziz + Cucher have won a lot of international attention with their works which are not only innovative and visually stunning (at times even frightening), but also because the topics they cover are something that applies to every human being living in this digital era of ours. Aziz + Cucher had more than 20 international shows and numberless group exhibitions. Only in 2008 they were present in various galleries throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. Their latest show was held in 2015, at Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art in Israel. Being unpredictable and experimental as they are, Aziz + Cucher are among the most interesting video artists of our time. We have yet to see if some of the dystopian ideas presented in their pieces might become true in near future.

The artists are represented by Gazelli Art House.

Aziz + Cucher live and work in Brooklyn, New York.

Featured image: Aziz + Cucher portrait
All images copyright © the artists

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016MoCP at 40Museum of Contemporary Photography, ChicagoGroup
2015In Some Country under a Sun and Some CloudsHerzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Herzliya, IsraelSolo
2015Time of the EmpressPabellón de las Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina Solo
2015Inside Magnolia Editions: Innovation and CollaborationArt Museum of Sonoma County, CAGroup
2015The Architectural ImpulseCristin Tierney Gallery, New YorkGroup
2015Nature MorteHa Gamle Prestegard, Stavanger, NorwayGroup
2015PixellatedChildren's Museum of the Arts, New YorkGroup
2014Time of The EmpressGazelli Art House, London Solo
2014If You Build It...Manon Slome, New YorkGroup
2014Monument to Cold War VictoryThe Cooper Union, New YorkGroup
2014Aziz + CucherThe Moving Image Art Fair, New YorkGroup
2014Report on the Construction of a Spaceship ModuleNew Museum of Contemporary Art, New YorkGroup
2014Tal Amitai-LaviChelouche Gallery for Contemporary Art, Tel AvivGroup
2013Time of the EmpressThe Screening Room, Miami Solo
2013SB: VilletteVirginia Commonwealth University/Institute of Contemporary Art, Richmond, VAGroup
2013Open DoorsFundacao De Almeida, Evora, PortugalGroup
2013To Deny our NothingnessGallery Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2013Re:CinemaSydney College of the Arts, Sydney, AustraliaGroup
2013Re:Conceptualizing VisionAuckland Photo Festival, Auckland, New ZealandGroup
2012Some PeopleIndianapolis Museum of ArtSolo
2012New LandscapesGazelli Art House, Baku, AzerbaijanSolo
2012UnnaturalBass Museum of Art, Miami BeachGroup
2012Fairy Tales, Monsters and the Genetic ImaginationFrist Center for the Arts, NashvilleGroup
2012Do or Die: The Human Condition in Painting and PhotographyDeutsches Hygiene-Museum, DresdenGroup
2011ParadesignSan Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San FranciscoGroup
2011CabaretRamis Barquet Gallery, New YorkGroup
2011Ping Yao FestivalPing Yao, ChinaGroup
2011Beauty CultureAnnenberg Space for Photography, Los AngelesGroup
2010Changing the Focus Museum of Latin American Art, Los AngelesnnGroup
2009HuespedMUSAC collection at the MNBA, Buenos AiresGroup
2007In the DermisphereArt Center College of Design, Pasadena, CAGroup
2007Double VisionDeutsche Bank, New YorkGroup
2007Digital PortraitsClampart Gallery, New YorkGroup
2007Jump CutsCIFO, Cisneros Foundation, Miami, FLnnGroup
2006Synaptic BlissArtereal, Sydney, AustraliaSolo
2006A Curator’s Eye: The Visual Legacy of Robert A. SobieszekLos Angeles County Museum of Art, Los AngelesGroup
2006Fata MorganaHaifa Museum of Art, IsraelGroup
2006Carta de NaturalezaPhoto España, MadridGroup
2006Future FaceTaiwan Museum of Art, TaiwannnGroup
2005Synaptic BlissGaleria Trama, Barcelona and MadridSolo
2003Only Skin DeepInternational Center of Photography (ICP), New YorkGroup
2003Rethinking Photography VForum Stadtpark, Graz, AustriaGroup
2003ChimeresMusee des Beaux Arts, MonaconnGroup
2002PASSAGEHerzliya Museum of Art, IsraelSolo
2001RECENT WORKHenry Urbach Gallery, New YorkSolo
2001New WorkGalerie Yvonamor Palix, ParisSolo
2001Organic/InorganicSan Francisco Museum of Modern Art, SFGroup
2001Face OffAeroplastics Contemporary, BrusselsGroup
1999AZIZ + CUCHERMuseo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, SpainSolo
1998Unnatural SelectionWolfson Gallery, Miami/Dade Comm. College, MiamiSolo
1998Art-Document-Market-Science: Photography’s Multiple RolesMuseum of Contemporary Photography, ChicagoGroup
1997LOVE HOTELTraveling exhibition of the collection of the National Gallery of AustraliannGroup
1997PLASMORPHICAJack Shainman Gallery, NYSolo
1996Unnatural SelectionThe Photographer’s Gallery, LondonnnSolo
1996Double Vie, Double VueFondation Cartier pour L’Art Contemporain, ParisGroup
1995Venice BiennaleVenezuelan Pavilion, VeniceSolo
1995Photography After PhotographySiemens Kulturprogramm, MunichGroup