MELBOURNE JOINS ELEVEN CITIES WORLDWIDE TO PRESENT WORLD-FIRST VIRTUAL SCULPTURES CREATED BY NEW YORK ARTIST KAWS
Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria will join 11 iconic international sites, including The Louvre Pyramid in Paris, Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, Brooklyn Museum in New York, and Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing, to unveil an augmented reality (AR) sculpture created by celebrated contemporary New York artist KAWS, from 13 to 27 March 2020.
EXPANDED HOLIDAY, a global art experience presenting monumental KAWS sculptures in 12 international locations, is produced in collaboration with Acute Art and KAWS.
Public sculptures will be located in Doha (MIA Park – Museum of Islamic Art), Qatar; Hong Kong, Statue Square; London, Millennium Bridge; Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria; New York, Brooklyn Museum; New York, Times Square; Paris, The Louvre Pyramid; Sao Paulo, Ibirapuera Park; Seoul, Dongdaemun Design Plaza; Taipei, National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall; Tanzania, Serengeti National Park; and Tokyo, Shibuya Crossing.
As part of this project, the NGV will provide access to KAWS’s monumental 10-metre long virtual sculpture in the NGV Garden. Depicting KAWS’s popular character, COMPANION, the AR sculpture will act as the starting point for the discovery of the range of KAWS’s works in his survey exhibition at the NGV.
EXPANDED HOLIDAY will demonstrate the enormous potential of AR technology, which provides virtual perspectives on real-world environments, and conveys KAWS’s mischievous humour through the juxtaposition of physical and virtual worlds.
These virtual sculptures will be accessible via the Acute Art app and can be experienced in conjunction with the NGV’s exclusive exhibition KAWS: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness, a comprehensive survey of 25 years of KAWS’s oeuvre and his largest solo survey to date. Full of humour, hope and humanity, the exhibition features more than 100 works including iconic paintings reappropriating pop-culture figures to more recent largescale, layered works, and an impressive collection of KAWS’s celebrated sculptural figures.
“It’s incredibly inspiring to be harnessing the potential of AR to bring my work to life in a virtual context,” said KAWS. “Creating public art using new technology opens up so many exciting possibilities where people can respond, experience and feel in a new way.”
“Melbourne and the NGV are joining some of the world’s most extraordinary locations in teaming up with KAWS and Acute Art to provide new and innovative ways of experiencing art that push the boundaries of what people consider an art experience” said Tony Ellwood AM, Director, National Gallery of Victoria.
KAWS engages audiences beyond the museums and galleries in which he regularly exhibits. His prolific body of work straddles the worlds of art and design to include paintings, murals, graphic and product design, street art, and large-scale sculptures. Over the last two decades KAWS has built a successful career with work that consistently shows his formal agility as an artist, as well as his underlying wit, irreverence, and affection for our times. His refined graphic language revitalises figuration with both big, bold gestures and playful intricacies.
KAWS often appropriates and draws inspiration from pop culture animations, forming a unique artistic vocabulary across mediums. Admired for his larger-than-life sculptures and hardedge paintings that emphasize line and colour, KAWS’s cast of hybrid cartoon characters are the strongest examples of his exploration of humanity. As seen in his collaborations with global brands, KAWS’s imagery possesses a sophisticated humour and reveals a thoughtful interplay with consumer products. With their broad appeal, KAWS’s artworks are highly sought-after by collectors inside and outside of the art world, establishing him as a uniquely prominent artist and influence in today’s culture.
KAWS has exhibited extensively in renowned institutions including solo exhibitions at — The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2019); Fire Station, Qatar Museums, Doha, Qatar (2019); Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Michigan (2019); Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis, Missouri (2017); Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas (2016), which travelled to the Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China (2017); Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Longside Gallery, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom (2016); Brooklyn Museum, New York (2015); Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Málaga, Spain (2014); Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, Kansas (2013); Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia (2013); High Art Museum, Atlanta, Georgia (2011); and Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut (2011). He will be the subject of a major survey exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in the spring of 2021.
About KAWS: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness
This exhibition is the largest survey to date of internationally celebrated contemporary artist KAWS and is exclusive to the NGV. Across more than 100 works including paintings and sculptural figures, KAWS engages with universal feelings of isolation and loneliness in response to the turbulent world we live in today. His larger-than-life sculptures are playful, toy-like figures, however at closer look, they reveal a fragility and darkness in the vulnerable poses of the characters. At the entrance to the exhibition, visitors can also experience the newly commissioned GONE 2019, which is currently KAWS’s largest bronze sculpture. Accompanying this exhibition is KAWS: PLAYTIME, a free kids’ exhibition filled with sensory rich activities inviting children to interact with KAWS’s iconic character BFF.
About Acute Art
Providing access to cutting-edge technologies, Acute Art is a production house fostering close working relationships with the world’s leading artists, including Marina Abramović, Olafur Eliasson, Cao Fei, Antony Gormley, Jeff Koons, and Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg. For more information visit the Acute Art website.
EXPANDED HOLIDAY is unveiled at the NGV from 13 to 27 March 2020. To experience the virtual sculptures, download the Acute Art app via the Apple Store and Google Play and simply point your phone at the designated areas.
KAWS: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness is on display until 13 April 2020 at NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, Australia. Tickets and information are available from the NGV website.
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