Quayola portrait - Image source spring2012seminar website

Quayola /   Davide Quagliola

Italy 1982

Digital Art, Computer Art, Video Art, Video Installation, Cyber Art


Davide Quagliola
August 28, 2015
Bojan is an author for Widewalls. He is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Belgrade, majoring in English studies. He is particularly interested in English linguistics and culture. Bojan is also interested in Photography and Digital Art.

Davide Quagliola, better known simply as Quayola, is an Italian visual artist. By employing software, computational functions and algorithms, he successfully brings together space and form, the old and the new. He is prominent in computer-generated art and video installations, all of which he skillfully merges with software programming. Quayola’s art investigats the concept of historical value and intellectual property.

Background and Inspiration

Born in 1982, Quayola grew up in Rome, his native city. His interest in art started to develop from a very young age. His brother studied architecture, which was Quayola’s first contact with art. He would try to copy the structures on the computer, or simply draw them on a piece of paper, and from that, his passion grew bigger and bigger. But then he realized that it was not the structures in the real world that held his attention; he was rather fascinated by the images themselves. In 2005, Quayola received his BA degree from University of the Arts in London.
He has always been inspired by Kandinsky’s paintings – the paintings that are based on sound and music. And like Kandinsky, Quayola developed his own system of relationship between sounds and their visual representations, a sort of a language of his own.

A New Kind of Experience

The purpose of Quayola’s art is to inspect and explore the real and artificial, the old and new, and the relationships that exist between them. Highly critically acclaimed, and very well received by the audience, Quayola takes the already existing artworks as basis for his immersive video installations, and processes them through different softwares, engaging visual analysis and complex geometry. Quayola thus offers completely different and new points of view, and provides his audience with alternative experience of masterpieces.


Quayola’s Strata series is a series of audiovisual installations that started in 2008 as a personal exploration of Roman baroque churches. The name comes from geology and is defined as formation of multiple layers of rock. The project itself comprises several films, prints and video installations that explore the relationships between classical art and architecture and the modern digital technology. This union of the contemporary and the classical yields completely new and fascinating formations.

Quayola - Strata #1, 2008 (Installation View) - Victoria Albert Museum, London - Copyright Quayola
Quayola – Strata #1, 2008 (Installation View) – Victoria Albert Museum, London

The obstacle that Quayola had encountered at first was getting a permit to film and photograph the churches in Rome, especially in Vatican. Once he did, however, he developed a film called Strata #1, which was an exploration of Chiesa del Gesù, a famous Roman church. Quayola soon realized that it would become a series of work that he would want to explore and build on even further.
Quayola collaborated with quite a few musicians and sound designers, especially for Strata. The music would always come after a video is made. However, for the 2009 piece Strata #2, it was the other way around. Mira Calix, a London-based South African artist, provided him with music in advance. Quayola then visited many churches and museums in Paris, listening to Mira’s music, trying to bring the images he was seeing to life in his head.

Quayola - Process of Creating Strata #2, 2009 - Copyright Quayola
Quayola – Process of Creating Strata #2, 2009

Strata #4 is 2011 audiovisual project that was commissioned by Palais de Beaux Arts in Lille. This piece explores the museum’s section of the Flemish collection of paintings, focusing mostly on Rubens and Van Dyck. For the major part of the project, Quayola collaborated with the photographer James Medcraft. Strata #4 explores the universal concept of beauty, which can be found both in classical and contemporary art. It came about as a result of a close analysis of the paintings’ figures, depths and colors, and then implementing the findings in the process.
All of the Strata projects are tied together. They are envisioned as a single, unique project that had developed over time.

Quayola - Strata #4, 2009 (Video Still) - Copyright Quayola
Quayola – Strata #4, 2011 (Video Still)


Topologies, a 2010 project, is a sort of extension of the Strata series. Unlike its predecessor, which describes a process of transformation, Topologies is about already transformed objects. Commissioned by “British Film Institute” and “onedotzero”, this video installation uses two paintings from the collection of the Prado Museum as a foundation: “Las Meninas” by Diego Velazquez and “The Immaculate Conception” by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. By using the custom software, Quayola has converted the two paintings into their “digital counterparts”. The result is not a narrative film (like the Strata), but rather, the unique “virtual” paintings. The installation is conceived as a parallel screening of both digital paintings.

Quayola - Topologies, 2010 (Installation View) - Copyright Quayola
Quayola – Topologies, 2010 (Installation View)


Commissioned by “Audemars Piguet”, Matter is Quayola’s 2012 piece. If Topologies can be called digital paintings, than Matter is most definitely a digital sculpture, and like the name suggests, it celebrates matter. As a starting point of this piece, Quayola took Rodin’s avant-garde piece “The Thinker”, symbolically, as the famous sculpture is now thought of as a bridge between modern and classical art. Matter is about a constant and dynamic dialog between simple forms and complex geometry.

Quayola - Matter, 2013 (Video Still) - Copyright Quayola
Quayola – Matter, 2013 (Video Still)


Iconographies is an ongoing project, a series of prints that Quayola has been developing since 2012. The purpose of this series is not to generate the digital counterparts of famous paintings, but rather to offer a bit different contemporary forms of the original paintings. Through programming and multiple algorithms, Quayola analyzes these renaissance and baroque pieces, and converts their color schemes and composition to new abstractions, allowing the viewers to experience these paintings in a new way. The linguistic difference between the originals and their computer-generated alternatives is accentuated in Iconographies. Quayola mostly uses Rubens’ paintings as a basis. For Iconographies #10, #11 and #12, he chose “The Descend from the Cross”, “Martyrdom of St. Catherine” and “The Ecstasy of Mary Magdalene”, respectively

Quayola - Iconographies #20, 2014, ‘Tiger Hunt’ after Rubens, Installation View - Copyright Quayola
Quayola – Iconographies #20, 2014, ‘Tiger Hunt’ after Rubens, Installation View


In 2013, Quayola started developing Captives, a series of sculptures that are both virtual and physical, and he has been working on it ever since. The series is a modern interpretation of “Prigioni”, Michelangelo’s unfinished work, and his technique of “non-finito”. Captives explores the balance between matter and form. Taking the Renaissance sculpture as a reference only, Quayola emphasizes articulation of matter itself. Just as the classical sculptures are, Quayola left his unfinished, succeeding in “recording” their history and creation. Computer-controlled robots brought the virtual sculptures to this world, producing their life-size unfinished counterparts.

Quayola - Captives, 2013, Process of Creation - Copyright Quayola
Quayola – Captives, 2013, Process of Creation

Exhibitions, Installations and Screenings

Quayola has exhibited all over the world. A digital art pioneer, Quayola also participated in numerous festivals and shows, including the 54th Venice Biennale at Italian Cultural Institute in London; STRP, Eindhoven; onedotzero in London; Sonar in Barcelona; Elekra, Montreal, and many others. His artwork was exhibited in many cities, such as Sao Paolo, Tokyo, Moscow, New York, Brussels, London and Barcelona, among many others.
In 2013, he received the Golden Nica award at Ars Electronica.

Quayola is represented by NOME gallery. He currently resides and works in London.

Images copyright © the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015Peaceminusone – (Captives, Matter)Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, South KoreaGroup
2015WRO Biennale – (Captives #1)Library, Wroclaw, PolandGroup
2015LEV – (Strata #4)Church of the Laboral, Gijon, SpainGroup
2015NODE15 – (Captives #4)Naxoshalle, Frankfurt, GermanyGroup
2015Artefact – (Captives #4)STUK, Leuven, BelgiumGroup
2015Strata – (Strata #4)Exploratorium, San Francisco, USAGroup
2014CaptivesImport Projects, Berlin, GermanySolo
2014Update_5 – (Captives)Zebrastraat, Ghent, BelgiumGroup
2014Bozar Electronic Arts Festival – (Strata / Iconographies)Bozar, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
2014Ars Electronica – (Captives)OK Center, Linz, AustriaGroup
2014Ostrale – (Captives)Ostrainsel, Dresden, GermanyGroup
2014Paddles ON! – (Topologies)PHILLIPS London, UKGroup
2014Quayola & Joanie Lemercier – (Iconographies)Galerie LJ, Paris, FranceDuo
2014Slingshot Festival – (Strata 4)Georgia Museum of Art, Athens (Georgia), USAGroup
2014Unpainted Art Fair – (Captives)Postpalast, Munich, GermanyGroup
2014Ravel Landscapes (Live Performance)L’ Avant Seine, Colombes, FranceSolo
2014Ravel Landscapes (Live Performance)Auditorium, Bordeaux, FranceSolo
2014Ravel Landscapes (Live Performance)Maison de la Musique, Nanterre, FranceSolo
2014Ravel Landscapes (Live Performance)Le Rayon Vert, Saint Valery en Caux, FranceSolo
2014Synaes (Live Performance)Roundhouse, London, UKSolo
2013The Sculpture FactoryMu Gallery, Eindhoven, HollandSolo
2013Quayola – Strata SeriesTroyka Multispace, Moscow, RussiaSolo
2013Digital Art Festival – (Strata 4)Songshan Cultural Park, Taipei, TaiwanGroup
2013Lichtrouten – (Strata Series)Gothaer-Haus Parking, Ludenschneid, GermanyGroup
2013Artort – (Strata 1)Hedelberg Castle, Hedelberg, GermanyGroup
2013Ostrale – (Matter)Ostrainsel, Dresden, GermanyGroup
2013Sonar Festival – (Matter)MNAC, Barcelona, SpainGroup
2013Data Curation – (Strata 4)MoA, Seoul, KoreaGroup
2013Art & Science of FLEX – (Flexure)Nike Stadium, Milan, ItalyGroup
2013Still em movimento: lição de pintura – (Topologies)Paco Das Artes, Sao Paulo, BrazilGroup
2013STRP Biennale – (Forms)Klokgebouw, Eindhoven, HollandGroup
2013Japan Media Art Festival – (Strata 4)National Art Center, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2013Accumulations – (Strata 2)Sherin Najar Gallery, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2013Ravel Landscapes (Live Performance)Centre des Arts Enghien, Paris, FranceSolo
2013Quayola & Sinigaglia (Live Performance)USC, Los Angeles, USADuo
2013Quayola & Sinigaglia (Live Performance)Troyka Multispace, Moscow, RussiaDuo
2013Ravel Landscapes (Live Performance)Cite’ de la Musique, Paris, FranceSolo
2013Ravel Landscapes (Live Performance)Arsenale, Metz, FranceSolo
2013Imagine Science Film Festival – (Forms) (Screening)New York, USAGroup
2013Ars Electronica – (Forms) (Screening)Linz, AustriaGroup
2012StrataBitforms Gallery, New York, USASolo
2012QuayolaYoung Projects Gallery, Los Angeles, USASolo
2012Royal Oak 40th Anniversary – (Matter)Railway Station, Tanjong Pagar, SingaporeGroup
2012Royal Oak 40th Anniversary – (Matter)UCCA, 798, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2012Technology Week – (Strata 1)The Filling Station, London, UKGroup
2012Royal Oak 40th Anniversary – (Matter)Palais de Tokyo, Paris, FranceGroup
2012StrataBitforms Gallery, New York, USAGroup
2012Royal Oak 40th Anniversary – (Matter)Triennale, Milan, ItalyGroup
2012QuayolaYoung Projects Gallery, Los Angeles, USASolo
2012Royal Oak 40th Anniversary – (Matter)Park Ave Armory, New York, USAGroup
2012Creators Project – (Strata #4)Fort Mason, San Francisco, USAGroup
2012In the Blink of an Eye – (Forms)National Media Museum, Bradford, UKGroup
2012Nemo Festival – (Partitura-Ligeti) (Live Performance)MAC, Paris, FranceGroup
2012Alpha-Ville – (Forms) (Screening)London, UKGroup
2011Pulse Art Fair – (Strata #4)Miami, USAGroup
2011Digitalife – (Strata #4)Ex Gil, Rome, ItalyGroup
2011Creators Project – (Strata #4)Dumbo Art Center, New York, USAGroup
2011Strata #4Palais des Beaux Arts, Lille, FranceGroup
2011Art Platform Fair – (Strata Series)Young Projects, Los Angeles, USAGroup
2011Creators Project – (Topologies)Platoon, Seoul, KoreaGroup
2011Creators Project – (Natures)Bienal, Sao Paulo, BrazilGroup
2011Kernel Festival – (Topologies)Villa Tittoni, Desio, ItalyGroup
2011Creators Project – (Topologies)La Gaite Lyrique, Paris, FranceGroup
201154th Venice Biennale – (Strata Series)Italian Cultural Institute, Venice, Italy – London, UKGroup
2011SHARE – (Topologies)Belgrade, SerbiaGroup
2011STRP Festival – (Strata Series live re-score) (Live Performance)Eindhoven, HollandGroup
2011Rojo Nova – (Partitura) (Live Performance)Casa Franca do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, BrazilSolo
2011Rojo Nova Opening – (PTA) (Live Performance)Casa Franca do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, BrazilSolo
2010YOTA Space – (Strata #1, Topologies)Frunzensky, St. Petersburg, RussiaGroup
2010Onedotzero Festival – (Topologies)BFI Gallery, London, UKGroup
2010Rojo NovaMIS, Sao Paulo, BrazilGroup
2010Sentieri Barocchi – (Strata #3)Church of San Francesco a Folloni, Irpinia, ItalyGroup
2010Marhsall Art CommissionCambridge Areospace Base, Cambridge, UKGroup
2010Hackney Film Festival – (PTA) (Live Performance)The Others, London, UKGroup
2010Internet Gallery Opening – (PTA) (Live Performance)National Media Museum, Leeds, UKSolo
2010Rojo Nova – (PTA) (Live Performance)MIS, Sao Paulo, BrazilSolo
2010NODE Festival – (PTA) (Live Performance)Galleria Civica, Modena, ItalyGroup
2010Audiovisiva – (Audioscan) (Live Performance)Palazzo del Ghiaccio, Milan, ItalyGroup
2010Ether Festival – (Score) (Live Performance)Purcell Room, London, UKGroup
2010Taste of Sonar – (Score) (Live Performance)The Roundhouse, London, UKGroup
2010RBMA (Live Performance)Royal Albert Hall, London, UKSolo
2010Blank Canvas – (Natures) (Live Performance)British Film Institute, London, UKSolo
2010Motion Grafique – (Natures) (Live Performance)Palais des Beaux Arts, Lille, FranceSolo
2010Plaza Plus – (Natures) (Live Performance)Plaza Futura, Eindhoven, HollandSolo
2010Blank Canvas – (Scores) (Live Performance)Kings Place, London, UKSolo
2010Damascus Film Festival – (Strata #2) (Screening)Damas, SyriaSolo
2010ReAnimania – (Strata #3) (Screening)Yerevan, ArmeniaSolo
2010MISZ Festival – (Strata Series) (Screening)Moscow, RussiaGroup
2010Tabor International Film Festival – (Strata #2) (Screening)Zabok, CroatiaGroup
2010Dissonanze – (Retrospective) (Screening)Ara Pacis, Rome, ItalySolo
2010Curto Circuito – (Strata #2) (Screening)Santiago de Compostela, SpainSolo
2010Gulf Film Festival – (Strata #3) (Screening)DubaiGroup
2010International Film Festival – (Strata #3) (Screening)Breda, NetherlandsGroup
2010Clermont Ferrand Film Festival – (Strata #2) (Screening)Clermont Ferrand, FranceGroup
2009-2010Motion Graphique – (Natures, Strata #1)Palais des Beaux Arts, Lille, FranceGroup
2009Onedotzero – (Strata #1)Fusing International Biennale, TaiwanGroup
2009Evento – (Strata #3)Grand Theatre, Bordeaux, FranceGroup
2009Faster Than Sound – (Strata #1)Snape, Suffolk, UKGroup
2009Captured in Stone – (Strata #1)Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UKGroup
2009Onedotzero (Strata #1)EMPAC Centre, Troy, NY, USAGroup
2009Nemo Festival – (Strata #2)Church of Saint Eustache, Paris, FranceGroup
2009So Natural – (Natures, Bitscapes)Le Cube, Paris, FranceGroup
2009Focus – (Strata #1)MLAC, Rome, ItalyGroup
2009Decode Opening – (Scores) (Live Performance)V&A Museum, London, UKSolo
2009Evento – (Partitura) (Live Performance)Grand Theatre, Bordeaux, FranceSolo
2009Loop Festival – (Natures) (Live Performance)Pavillion, Brighton, UKGroup
2009Sonar – (PTA) (Live Performance)MACBA, Barcelona, SpainSolo
2009Taste of Sonar – (PTA) (Live Performance)The Roundhouse, London, UKSolo
2009Onedotzero – (PTA) (Live Performance)EMPAC Centre, Troy, NY, USAGroup
2009Nemo Festival – (Natures) (Live Performance)Forum des Images, Paris, FranceGroup
2009Short Film Festival – (Strata #2) (Screening)Uppsala, SweedenGroup
2009Rencontres Audiovisuelles – (Strata #2) (Screening)Palais des Beaux Arts, Lille, FranceGroup
2009Animanima – (Strata #2) (Screening)Cultural Centre, Cacak, SerbiaGroup
2009Elektra – (Strata #2) (Screening)Usice C, “Strata #2”, Montreal, CanadaSolo
2009Nemo Festival – (Strata #2) (Screening)Forum des Images, Paris, FranceGroup
2009Onedotzero 10 – (Bitscapes) (Screening)Global TourGroup
2008Videomedeja – (Natures)Studio M, Novi Sad, SerbiaGroup
2008Onedotzero 12 – (Strata #1)Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires, ArgentinaGroup
2008Processing LightTodays Art Festival, The Hague, NetherlandsGroup
2008Dislocate – (Cityscan)ZAIM, Yokohama, JapanGroup
2008Faster Than Sound – (Natures)Bentwater Airbase, Suffolk, UKGroup
2008StrataPunctum Gallery, Rome, ItalyGroup
2008Optronica – (PTA)Le Cube, Paris, FranceGroup
2008De Nachten – (PTA) (Live Performance)Singel, Antwerp, BelgiumGroup
2008Faster Than Sound – (Natures) (Live Performance)Kings Place, London, UKGroup
2008BFI 75th Anniversary – (PTA) (Live Performance)British Film Institute, London, UKGroup
2008Videomedeja – (Strata #2) (Screening)Novi Sad, SerbiaGroup
2008Faster Than Sound – (Strata #1) (Screening)Aldeburgh Cinema, Suffolk, UKGroup
2008Elektra – (Strata #1) (Screening)Usice C, Montreal, CanadaGroup
2008NEMO Festival – (Strata #1) (Screening)Elysees Biarritz, Paris, FranceGroup
2008Onedotzero 11 – (Rome) (Screening)Global Tour Group
2007The Vernacular Terrain – (Bitscapes)Zaim Art Space, Yokohama, JapanGroup
2007Videomedeja – (PTA)Museum of Vojvodina, Novi Sad, SerbiaGroup
2007Dislocate – (Architectural Density)Koiwa Project Space, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2007Onedotzero – (PTA)Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires, ArgentinaGroup
2007The Vernacular Terrain – (Bitscapes)QUT, Brisbane, AustraliaGroup
2007Mapping Festival – (PTA)BAC: Centre d’ Art Contemporain, Geneva, SwitzerlandGroup
2007Optronica – (PTA)British Film Institute, London, UKGroup
2007NEMO Festival – (PTA) (Live Performance)Elysees Biarritz, Paris, FranceGroup
2007Cimatics Festival – (PTA) (Live Performance)Beursschouwburg, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
2007MUV Festival – (PTA) (Live Performance)Limonaia Strozzi, Florence, ItalyGroup
2007Mapping – (PTA) (Live Performance)Centre d’ Art Contemporain, Geneva, SwitzerlandSolo
2007Videomedeja – (Architectural Density) (Screening)Museum of Vojvodina, Novi Sad, SerbiaGroup
2007The Vernacular Terrain – (Bitscapes) (Screening)Beijing Film Academy, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2007Sonar – (Cityscan) (Screening)MACBA, Barcelona, SpainSolo
2007NEMO Festival – (Bitscapes) (Screening)Le Cube, Paris, FranceGroup
2007Optronica – (Architectural Density) (Screening)British Film Institute, London, UKSolo
2006Undercurrent – (Architectural Density)The Lighthouse, Brighton, UKGroup
2006Mobile: Art Contemporain – (Cityscan)Espace Landowsky, Paris, FranceGroup
2006NodeLondon – (Cityscan)E:Vent Gallery, London, UKGroup
2006Lovebytes – (Bitscapes)Millenium Galleries, Sheffield, UKGroup
2006M.I.T. – (PTA) (Live Performance)Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome, ItalyGroup
2006REC – (PTA) (Live Performance)Matadero, Madrid, SpainGroup
2006New Media Art – (Bitscapes) (Screening)Telewiza Polska – TV Broadcast, PolandGroup
2006Seated Club – (Cityscan) (Screening)Koko, London, UKGroup
2005-2007Warp meets London Sinfonietta (Cityscan) (Screening)European TourGroup
2005-2007MTV QOOB – (Bitscapes) (Screening)TV Broadcast, ItalyGroup
2005Electrotecture – (Cityscan)Millenium Galleries, Sheffield, UKGroup
2005Cimatics Festival – (Cityscan) (Screening)Beursschouwburg, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
2005Lovebytes – (Cityscan) (Screening)Workstation, Sheffield, UKGroup
2004VJ by Designers – (Cityscan) (Screening)Institute of Contemporary Art, London, UKGroup