Hidden away in the corner of the Collectors Lounge is Virtual Frontiers, Art Basel‘s collaboration with Google Arts & Culture, the results of a group of artists who were invited to create works using the Tilt Brush virtual reality app. And if you wondered why you needed to upgrade your pc and buy a VR headset, Tilt Brush a 3D drawing and painting application is that reason. Released a year ago (sadly only for Windows) it is quite amazing both in the creative sense and in the exploration of other’s creations.
The artists invited to explore and create with Tilt Brush for Art Basel included Cao Fei, Robin Rhode, Sun Xun and Yang Yongliang who attended residencies at Google’s offices in Beijing and Paris to create the series of interactive works on display during the show and in which you can literally climb inside and explore the creations.
Eternal Landscape (2017), Yang Yongliang‘s Tilt Brush work uses the ‘Shan Shui’, traditional style of Chinese ink painting that depicts scenery or natural landscapes and is often considered to be one of ancient China’s most important contributions to the history of art. ‘Eternal Landscape’ recreates a traditional Shan Shui landscape in a virtual immersive realm, while trying to preserve the classical aesthetics.
With Gusheshe (2017), which in South African township slang translates to ‘go faster’ or ‘very fast’, Robin Rhode references the BMW E30, a model that was produced and driven on the streets of the townships of South Africa in the early 1990’s, a politically tumultuous time for the country. Rhode took inspiration from the iconic street culture in South Africa and re-imagined ‘Gusheshe’ animated in a virtual setting.
The Previous Life of the Yimatu Mountain (2017) by Sun Xun is a portrait of Yimatu, the highest mountain in Fuxin in Liaoning Province, the artist’s hometown. It focuses on the way the artist imagines what life around the Yimatu mountain would have been like in the past.
Cao Fei’s mixed reality film, titled Derivation Blurs the Virtual and Physical Worlds (2017), declares a utopian future where walls and societal restrictions are broken and new conversations and new possibilities emerge.
In addition to being able to explore the VR artworks the ‘Conversations‘ part of Art Basel features Cao Fei and Yang Yongliang in conversation with Freya Murray, Program Manager, Google Arts & Culture. They will discuss the artists’ approach to making art in virtual reality, the impact virtual tools such as Tilt Brush can have on artistic practice and more broadly on the arts in general. The talk will take place at the fair in the auditorium on level 1, at the entrance of Hall 1A of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, on Wednesday, March 22 at 3.30pm. If you can’t make it, all the talks from the fair can be watch here later www.artbasel.com/hongkong/conversations.