The paradox of perfection: the role of imperfection in the world’s great artworks

The concept of artistic perfection has long been a subject of contemplation for artists and philosophers alike. Is perfection an objective quality, attainable through technical proficiency and precision? Or is it a subjective experience, shaped by the individual viewer's perceptions and emotions?

Through a series of long form projects by generative artists, this exhibition explores the role imperfections play in great artworks, and how the pursuit of artistic perfection is seemingly a paradoxical endeavour.

A quick look at the world’s most sought-after paintings suggests evidence of struggle and the creator’s humanity is a pre-requisite for an artwork ever becoming a headline lot at a Christie’s evening sale. Indeed, the world’s most valuable artworks are seemingly desirable not because they’re devoid of any mistakes, but because the artist’s humanity shines through.

De Kooning’s Woman III, Picasso’s Garçon à la Pipe, and Pollock’s One: Number 31 all allow the viewer to viscerally feel the artists at work on the paintings. The paintings’ rawness and authenticity transports us to the artists’ studios, and sheds light on who they really are.

Willem de Kooning, *Untitled*, 1966, detail

Willem de Kooning, Untitled, 1966, detail

Jackson Pollock, *Number 17*, 1951

Jackson Pollock, Number 17, 1951

Pablo Picasso, *Les Demoiselles d’Avignon*, 1907

Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907

The paradox of perfection extends beyond art. Evolution, the force behind the natural world and all its wonders, is the result of a series of random mutations - mainly unhelpful ones - that over time have led to life as we now know it. And it’s the messiness of a jungle that makes being in it so mesmerising. In life, the most satisfying achievements, whether in our personal or professional lives, are often the result of struggle and hardship.

The same holds in the generative art world. The randomness of Snowfro’s Chromie Squiggles, and the imperfect charm of many of the outputs give each Squiggle an almost lifelike feel. The satisfying rawness of William Mapan’s Anticyclone somehow speaks to us in a way that’s hard to describe.

‘"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."’
Pablo Picasso

Imperfections looks to present new works by emerging and more established generative artists.

  • Online exhibition, opening 23 February 2023, 6pm GMT
  • Artist submissions close 20 January. Get in touch at

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