Assembly presents “Bug” by Brooklyn-based artist Charlie Engman. The post-photographic works of Engman’s NFT collection question how images relate to those that have preceded and surround them, as well as the expectations we bring to images and how we interact with them. By using artificial intelligence (AI), Engman generates images that are themselves created by visual culture, yet are not otherwise bound by human logic, cultural codes, or the physical world, augmenting our reality in challenging ways. Some of the images are generated using only text prompts; some are made by mixing pre-existing imagery and text; some are amalgamations of several types of images. These unusual creatures that recur throughout the series, the bugs become the protagonist provoking important questions in art-making such as hierarchy, consent, access, labor, technique, and the mythos of individual genius.

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Charlie Engman is a visual artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Originally from Chicago, Charlie Engman started working with photography while completing a degree in Japanese and Korean Studies at the University of Oxford. Trained originally as a movement artist, Engman arrived at picture-taking as a form of visual notation. His images capture the sculptural potential of an action, as a sleeve, collar, elbow or freckle is caught in the moment of becoming something other than itself. His singular sensibility has produced intrigue and demand. Charlie’s images are at essence conceptual and visual solutions to the formal problem of picture making, pushing the scope and visual possibility of what he has to work with. Engman is not afraid to playfully and cleverly confront the artifice of his images, and we are often privy to the boundaries and construction of his working environments. In each case Engman responds to a slightly different question or set of preoccupations unique to that particular image, requiring a specific approach and resolution. Recently, Engman has taken a deep dive into AI image generation. 

Charlie Engman’s commissioned work has appeared in publications such as AnOther Magazine, Dazed, Garage, The New York Times, American Vogue and more. He has been used by clients such as Prada, Adidas, Hermès, Kenzo, Nike, Stella McCartney, and Vivienne Westwood. Charlie has expanded his talents to both styling and design, and also works as the Art Director for the fashion brand Collina Strada. In addition to his many fashion credits he also has exhibited internationally at Fotomuseum Winterthur, FOAM Museum Amsterdam, Contact Photography Festival (Toronto), Lishui International Photography Festival, Manchester Art Gallery, and Asama International Festival in Japan. His first monograph, MOM, a collection of images of his mother made over the course of more than a decade was published by Edition Patrick Frey in Spring 2020.