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“Aldo Giorgini: Art and Code” exhibit shows innovative, early computer art at Purdue

Thanks to programs like Photoshop, a computer artist has a broad a palette as a painter or sculptor.

Flash back 45 years ago and this obviously wasn’t the case.

But limited computer technology in the late 1960s through the 1970s did not stop Aldo Giorgini, a former professor of Civil Engineering at Purdue University who passed away in 1994.

Giorgini created tremendous prints of geometric and sometimes almost psychedelic designs throughout his time at Purdue. These pieces still hold up today but when the dates of these works are revealed, the work becomes even more astounding. This was the era of punch cards and computers larger than refrigerators when Giorgini helped forge a new art form called “computer art.”

Dozens of Giorgini’s work – much of which that hasn’t been seen in publicly in decades – now occupies the Reuff Gallery East in Purdue’s Pao Hall. “Aldo Giorgini: Art and Code – a Computer Art Retrospective” runs through Nov. 8. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Esteban Garcia, a visiting assistant professor of Computer Graphics Technology at Purdue, selected the pieces. Garcia had to sift through thousands of prints and slides at the Giorgini family home. Closets were bursting with important work from the late 1960s to the early 1980s.

Garcia organized the show in different eras: early works to Giorgini’s triumphant delving into color with early computer programs called “Photo” and “Palette.” Before this time, Giorgini’s work was primarily black and white as color was an elusive trait to 1970s computers.

While Giorgini’s work has been exhibited recently in Lafayette venues, it’s fantastic to see these pieces in a proper gallery at Purdue, home of so much computer and technological innovation over the decades. Giorgini’s artwork was part of that wave.

Aldo Giorgini’s son Mass Giorgini was thankful of Garcia’s diligence in preserving his father’s art.

“Esteban’s work was a labor of love, digging through piles of water-damaged prints and sketches, searching for survivors of broken pipes, water heater ruptures, and occasional flooding from storms,” Mass Giorgini stated. “Many of the pieces on display I had not seen in decades until Esteban pulled them from the remains of my father’s archives.”

Garcia will talk about the work at the Reuff Gallery at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 7.

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