'Blue Computergram' and 'White Computergram' series


Blue Computergram and White Computergram are a series of paintings created by Brian Clarke in 1981: modular assemblages of screenprints in oil on canvas. Both series were printed by Chris Prater at Kelpra Studios, London (printers of Clarke's classic series The Two Cultures, the 'Olympus prints', and other works), with many individually overpainted by the artist. Blue Computergram is the title of the group of forty canvases exhibited as a single monumental painting at the Royal Institute of British Architects, with the Robert Fraser Gallery, in 1981. A number of independent Blue Computergram artworks were made from these forty after their exhibition at RIBA: diptychs, and specific groupings conceived by the artist as multi-part paintings. Twenty-four of the canvases formed a single Blue Computergram painting commissioned by Olympus Optical as part of Clarke's major programme of artwork for their European headquarters in Hamburg. A small number of additional Blue Computergram canvases were also printed from the same screens, the modular nature of each artwork allowing for their combination in any order, orientation or number with the others.

The White Computergram paintings include a similar number of single canvases and diptychs, and two larger paintings also commissioned by Olympus in 1981 for their headquarters – one a composition comprising twenty-four canvases, and the other an almost-entirely overpainted set of sixteen, the geometric shapes just visible through an obscuring cloud of white oil paint.

Paintings from both series have been widely published and exhibited internationally including at the Sezon Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, and the Yao Seibu Hall, Osaka. The geometric forms originated in Clarke's exploration of a pure Constructivist language of symbols, developing into a set of modular shapes derived from the cross which was his signature in the 1980s. The series' titles are taken from the light-metering computergrams of the Olympus OM System cameras, which also inspired the Time Lag Zero and Marks on a White Background series of paintings of the same period.