Marina Abramovic and Anish Kapoor to present two Virtual Reality artworks at Art Basel HK

Art Basel Hong Kong will see the the first public presentation of two virtual reality artworks by Marina Abramovic and Anish Kapoor.

Rising by Marina Abramovic and Into Yourself, Fall by Anish Kapoor are produced in collaboration with Acute Art and will be shown on VR’s most immersive products, Vive Pro and Vive Focus in the HTC Vive Lounge, Level 3 Concourse at the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre.

Marina Abramovic and Anish Kapoor are two of the most acclaimed contemporary artists working
today, recognised for their iconic works that have continually challenged and inspired audiences
worldwide. These works mark the first time either artist has realised an artwork using virtual reality
technology.

Vive’s partnership with Art Basel in Hong Kong will bring a one-of-a-kind integrated VR experience
to the fair’s visitors in Hong Kong. A first for Vive, visitors will be able to explore both artists’ works at the fair as well as experience it at home through VIVEPORT, the leading VR app store. HTC
has a long-standing commitment to the arts, and created a global program, Vive Arts, to advance
the world’s appreciation and creation of the arts through the latest technology.

Marina Abramovi?, still from Rising, 2017, courtesy of Acute Art  FAD MAGAZINE

Marina Abramovic, Rising
Marina Abramovic’s Rising addresses the effects of climate change by transporting viewers to
witness rising sea levels. Wearing an immersive headset, viewers enter an intimate virtual space,
where they come face-to-face with the artist, who beckons from within a glass tank that is slowly
filling with water from her waist to her neck.
Users are invited to make contact with the virtual Abramovic, and then find themselves surrounded
by a dramatic scene of melting polar ice caps. Abramovic urges viewers to reconsider their impact
on the world around them, asking them to choose whether or not to save her from drowning by
pledging to support the environment, which lowers the water in the tank.
Abramovic’s pioneering performance career has centered around time-based work, which uses
both hers and the public’s body as a canvas. She has continually pushed the boundaries with
durational work that has defined contemporary performance. With Rising, the artist’s presence is
brought into another dimension.
To produce the artwork, Acute Art developers captured the artist’s unique facial expressions to
create a realistic looking avatar of Abramovic. Embracing new technology in an endeavor to
transmit the presence of the artist virtually, Rising allows users to directly interact with the artist
virtually from anywhere in the world.

Marina Abramovi?, courtesy of Acute Art  FAD MAGAZINE
Marina Abramovi?, courtesy of Acute Art

Marina Abramovic said:

“In this moment of my career, I have been wondering how to transfer
energy from body to body through the use of modern technology. This VR artwork raises questions
about technology’s impact on human empathy through the lens of a pressing issue facing our
world: climate change. Changes to the global climate threaten existing ways of living. Rising will
offer people the chance to empathise and respond to the needs of others affected by this crisis. I
am particularly interested in how audiences’ consciousness and energy will be affected by a virtual
experience of helping others”

Anish Kapoor, stills from Into Yourself, Fall, 2018, courtesy of Acute Art
Anish Kapoor, stills from Into Yourself, Fall, 2018, courtesy of Acute Art

Anish Kapoor, Into Yourself, Fall
Anish Kapoor’s first virtual reality work, Into Yourself, Fall, takes users on a journey through the
human body, experiencing the sensation of falling into yourself via the immersive headset.
Kapoor’s work seeks to simulate vertigo as a descent inside the human body, depicting a labyrinth
of the inner workings of the self.
Starting the journey in a forest scene, in a clearing surrounded by trees, viewers encounter a large
black void in the ground. Users then travel through a complex series of tunnels with walls that
appear to be made of sinewy flesh and muscle. With this work, Kapoor invites users to experience
a surreal sensation of exploring the unknown, with viewers losing themselves in another realm.
Working with Acute Art to design this custom made virtual space, Kapoor’s work was developed
around the idea of creating a physical experience via a virtual journey, testing the limits of what is
possible to experience through the technology. Into Yourself, Fall plays with the experience of
wearing the headset, creating a disorientating sensation of radical introspection that is experienced
physically by the viewer.
Kapoor’s use of this new technology enables him to explore materiality in a virtual realm, drawing
on his highly influential sculptural practice to evoke both tactility and transcendence. With a
soundtrack created by the artist’s son Ishan Kapoor, Into Yourself, Fall directly transports the
viewer into the artist’s own visceral virtual reality.

Anish Kapoor, courtesy of Acute Art.  FAD MAGAZINE
Anish Kapoor, courtesy of Acute Art.
Anish Kapoor said:

“Into Yourself, Fall, takes us on a journey through the human body,
experiencing the sensation of falling into yourself via this immersive medium. The work seeks to
simulate vertigo as a descent inside the human body, depicting a labyrinth of the inner workings
of the self.”

Art Basel Hong Kong March 29th – 31st artbasel.com.

About Acute Art
Acute Art works with today’s leading artists to produce and exhibit original artworks. Offering
access to interactive and immersive art that can be experienced anywhere through its website,
Acute Art was founded to enable the transition from art in the physical world into the boundless
realm of Virtual Reality. For more information, please visit www.acuteart.com.

About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the Founder and Editor of FAD magazine, ' A curation of the world’s most interesting culture' [PLUS] Art of Conversation: A tri-annual 'no news paper' AofC - Issue 1 Autumn 2018