Pouring Milk in Front of a Window combines textualisations of paintings by Johannes Vermeer with images found by search-engine algorithms using these textualisations. 

Images have always been textualised. In art the textualisation usually starts when the artist adds a title, followed by descriptions and comments from others like critics, art historians and museums. 

In the current digital era machines use algorithms to index images. In this process algorithms focus on key elements and leave out a lot of noise. An algorithm reduces images to what it has learned to be essential. Through formalisation and abstraction different images are tagged with the same standard labels. As a result an image may have many different actualisations: a girl can be any girl. 

An essential theme in Vermeer’s work is revealing the universal within the domain of the commonplace. Although Vermeer’s paintings may appear to be specific at first glance; they are generally considered to be allegorical. His paintings are not intended to be a portrait of somebody or something specific: a girl can be any girl.   

Pouring Milk in Front of a Window shows “specific” and “generic” are coinciding concepts enabling the combination of human interpretation and algorithmic logic to create poetic result.


Eight Cubic Meters by Eric van Zuilen
Exhibition at Eight Cubic Meters, Sint Nicolaasstraat, Amsterdam
19 May 2021 - 9 June 2021


As part of the GRA Awards 2020 Eric van Zuilen has been given the opportunity to show new work to a new audience.

Photo's: Anna Lenartowska