IN CONVERSATION: Tim Irani on "in silico"

by Woaw Gallery
Woaw Gallery, 2023

California-based artist Tim Irani will be having his first solo exhibition in Asia at Woaw Gallery Beijing from April 29 to Jul 28 2023. The exhibition titled in silico refers to the process by which computer simulation is used for the purpose of experimentation. The New Latin term was created as an analogue to the preexisting terms in vitro and in vivo commonly used in biology. In this case, Irani amalgamates his own collection of flora and fauna “specimen” to study within the computer, or, in silico. 


I view the sciences as my biggest hobby that I’m not quite able to pursue professionally at this moment in time (but if I had a clone they would be scientists). Studying, observing, collecting are all things I do both IRL (in real life) and on the computer. Yes, I mean I’m a plant hoarder. Both digitally and actually. 
As another example, a beetle flew into my studio last year and I decided to keep it as a pet. We named it Hermann. I used an app to identify the species to figure out what it ate—exclusively Eucalyptus leaves—so then I went on a mission in LA to find them. 
I’m also really fascinated by biology and its interaction with technology. Computation is a tool by which the rate of learning is being dramatically accelerated, and that’s really exciting to me. 

Tim Irani 
Caught, in the Rain, 2023 
acrylic on canvas over shaped wood panel 
75.375" x 124.5"


As an architect by training, Tim has always been someone who can derive a good deal of stimulation from being an observer. There’s no doubt that he gravitated toward any aspect of art or design that involved creativity and design. Even though it wasn't an easy transition from architecture to art, once he became immersed in the world of painting, he was completely devoted to it, regardless of how gradual the process may have been. 


My primary tool for many years was black ink and it wasn’t until I wanted (needed?) artwork for the walls of my room that I picked up painting. It started slowly at first and then all at once—I became addicted. 


As he transitioned between the fields of architecture and art, Tim made Iphone apps and created a character from a concept for a game that was never developed. As the white bird in Perched was originally conceived as a 2D character, he later found his way into Tim’s artwork as a 3D character and became a motif in this series of works. 

I think it's interesting to note the common themes between what I was doing then and what I’m doing now. This bird found its way  into almost half of the works in this show, actually, and I think of it as a sort of friendly companion which is similar to its intended role in that game. 

 Tim Irani

Perched, 2023

Acrylic on wood-framed aluminum composite

60” x 52”


Incorporating the skills he acquired while studying architecture at university, Tim would use 3D modeling software to assess the wall surfaces in the gallery space and would make notes on anything that inspired him to continue experimenting in the future. The gallery space and artwork layout for in silico were constructed in a 3D model and were experimented with for many months prior to the final launch. The hybrid methodology of working with analog and digital is something that he intends to reflect through his works. 


In terms of my practice, I want to continue developing the world inside the computer. I see the objects I’m making as being analogous to words within a language, wherein having more words at my disposal may aid in effectively communicating my artistic vision.


Computer rendering of Woaw Gallery Beijing space created by Tim Irani for in silico 


When asked if this project is an example of how biology and technology can coexist in a harmonious realm Tim said the following statement. 


My art comments a lot on this ongoing tug-of-war between the two and the inherent irony in that technology creates an infinite loop between problem-solving and problem-creating. The most likely answer is that both will continue to exist but not without tension. 



In Silico solo exhibition by Tim Irani 

29 April – 28 July 2023 

WOAW Gallery Beijing