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Art Basel and Google Arts & Culture collaborate on virtual reality project for Hong Kong show

Art Basel has done a new collaboration with Google Arts & Culture, which was presented at the upcoming Art Basel show in Hong Kong yesterday. 'Virtual Frontiers: Artists experimenting with Tilt Brush' is a collaborative presentation of work by renowned international artists boychild, Cao Fei, Robin Rhode, Sun Xun and Yang Yongliang, created with Tilt Brush by Google – a 3D drawing and painting application.

Art Basel's Hong Kong show takes place at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre and is open to the public  March 23 - March 25, 2017



As part of this collaboration, Art Basel helped select artists whose existing practice made them good candidates to experiment with Tilt Brush, who were then invited by Google Arts & Culture to attend multiday residencies in Beijing and Paris. For the duration of the show, fair visitors will be able to explore five new virtual reality works that were created by artists who worked for the first time with Tilt Brush.

Marc Spiegler, Art Basel's Global Director says:

This collaboration extends Art Basel's interest in the digital realm and how artists approach this topic on different levels. Virtual Frontiers allows internationally renowned artists to experiment with new technology and to expand their practice into another dimension.

Titled 'Eternal Landscape' (2017), Yang Yongliang's work responds to 'Shan Shui', a 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 through a modern replica. You have seen more of his work in our article of the art of the Humble House in Taipei.

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 idea of transforming this car with its many connotations into virtual space can be seen as a way of expressing a certain cultural landscape or code, engineered in a not so distant future.

‘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 focusses 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.

boychild’s ‘Untitled: Series of Hand Dances’ (2017) is an imagination of space through several improvisational hand dances that were performed over the course of three days in Paris, France.

It has been a privilege to collaborate with Art Basel and host boychild, Cao Fei, Robin Rhode, Sun Xun and Yang Yongliang in Paris and in Beijing, inviting them to experiment with Tilt Brush by Google. It is exciting to see artists embracing new technology and using it to create new forms of art.

said Freya Murray, Program Manager, Google Arts & Culture.


To coincide with the presentation, Art Basel hosted a dedicated Conversations panel featuring Cao Fei and Yang Yongliang in conversation with Freya Murray, Program Manager, Google Arts & Culture. They discussed 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 took place at the fair at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, on Wednesday, March 22 at 3.30pm and provided great insight into how artists work with this tool, and how they expect technical tools like this to change the way of art making. Most interesting.


Virtual Frontiers viewing information

'Virtual Frontiers: Artists experimenting with Tilt Brush' will be on display in Art Basel's Collectors Lounge during show opening times. The presentation is open to the public with general admission tickets for Art Basel in Hong from 1pm - 2pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (March 23, 24, 25), free of charge. Please click here to register. Spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.


About the Artists

boychild is a movement-based performance artist whose work in video and live performance seeks to explore the many unknown questions about the state of the human in the modern world through the display and transformation of the body. Adamant about the individual internal experience of live visual performance, boychild makes a case for how the movement of form can communicate what remains impenetrable in images, and through language. Her performances have been presented at MoMA PS1, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Kulturhuset, Stockholm, MOCA Los Angeles, MOMA Warsaw, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, ICA London, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, MACBA, ICA London, the Sydney Biennial and Berghain. boychild hastoured with Mykki Blanco, and collaborated with Korakrit Arunanondchai, Wu Tsang, as well as the streetwear label Hood By Air.

Cao Fei (b. 1978, Guangzhou) is one of the most innovative Chinese young artists to have emerged on the international scene. Currently living in Beijing, she mixes social commentary, popular aesthetics, references to Surrealism, and documentary conventions in her films and installations. Her works reflect on the rapid and chaotic changes that are occurring in Chinese society today. Cao Fei's work has been included in international biennales including Shanghai Biennale, Moscow Biennale,    Taipei Biennale, 15th and 17th Biennale of Sydney, Istanbul Biennale, Yokohama Triennale, and 50th, 52nd and 56th Venice Biennale. She has shown work at Serpentine Gallery, London, Tate Modern, London, New Museum, Guggenheim Museum, MoMA, New York; Foundation Louis Vuitton, Paris, Palais de Tokyo and Centre Pompidou, Paris. Cao Fei’s recent projects of 2016 include her first retrospective at MoMA PS1 (New York) and BMW Art Car #18.

Robin Rhode (b.1976, Cape Town) lives and works in Berlin. Select exhibitions and performances include: 'PATHS AND FIELDS' at Stevenson, Cape Town, 'Force of Circumstance' at kamel mennour, Paris (2017), 'PRIMITIVES' at Tucci Russo Studio Per L’Arte Contemporanea, Turin (2016), 'Robin Rhode: The Moon is Asleep' at SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia (2016), 'Arnold Schönberg’s Erwartung - A Performance by Robin Rhode', Times Square, New York City (2015), 'Robin Rhode' at North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh (2015), 'Drawing Waves', The Drawing Center, New York City (2015), 'Borne Frieze' at Lehmann Maupin, New York (2015), 'Recycled Matter' at Stevenson Gallery, Johannesburg (2015), 'The Sudden Walk' at Kulturhuset / Stadsteatern Stockholm (2015), 'Anima' at Braverman Gallery, Tel Aviv (2014), 'having been there' at Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong (2014).

Sun Xun (b. 1980, Fuxin) lives and works in Beijing. He graduated in 2005 from the Print-making Department of the China Academy of Art. In 2006 he established π Animation Studio. Sun Xun has received several notable awards including the Award of Art China (AAC The Award for Young Artist of the Year) in 2014, 'Chinese Contemporary Art Awards (CCAA Best Young Artist)' and 'Taiwan Contemporary Art Link Young Art Award' in 2010 and the Civitella Ranieri Visual Arts Fellowship 2011/ 2012. 2012, his latest wood printing animation film 'Some Actions Which Haven't Been Defined yet in the Revolution' has been nominated by Berlinale Shorts 2012 jury in 62nd Berlin International Film Festival. Recent solo exhibitions include: 'Reconstruction of the Universe', Audemars Piguet Art Commission, Art Basel in Miami Beach (2016); 'Prediction Laboratory', Yuz Museum, Shanghai (2016); 'The Time Vivarium', Sean Kelly, New York (2015); 'Brave New World', Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong (2014), 'Yesterday Is Tomorrow', Hayward Gallery, London (2014).

Yang Yongliang (b.1980, Shanghai) trained as a pupil to traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy from his early childhood on and later graduated from the China Academy of Art in Shanghai in 2003, majoring in Visual Communication. Yang Yongliang exploits a connection between traditional art and the contemporary, implementing ancient oriental aesthetics and literati beliefs with modern language and digital technology. Yang Yongliang’s work has been exhibited internationally at museums and biennials, such as Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2012), National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2012), Moscow Biennale (2013), Metropolitan Museum of Art New York (2013), Daegu Photo Biennale, Korea (2014), Singapore ArtScience Museum (2014), Modern Art Museum Paris (2015), Kunst und Kultur, Neuried e.V (2015), Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (2015), Somerest House, London (2016, 2013), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2016, 2011). See more of his works here.


About Google Arts & Culture

Google Arts & Culture is a new, immersive way to experience art, history, culture and world wonders from over a thousand organizations worldwide. Google Arts & Culture has been created by the Google Cultural Institute and it is available for free for everyone on the web, on Android and IOS. We have written about it and them before, read more here.


About Tilt Brush by Google

Tilt Brush is a virtual reality (VR) app that lets you paint in three-dimensional space. It is available for the Oculus Rift (with Touch) and the HTC Vive.


About Art Basel

Founded in 1970 by gallerists from Basel, Art Basel today stages the world's premier art shows for Modern and contemporary art, sited in Basel, Miami Beach, and Hong Kong. Defined by its host city and region, each show is unique, which is reflected in its participating galleries, artworks presented, and the content of parallel programming produced in collaboration with local institutions for each edition.

Art Basel’s engagement has expanded beyond art fairs through a number of new initiatives. In 2014, Art Basel launched its Crowdfunding Initiative, in collaboration with Kickstarter. This initiative presents jury-selected art projects to potential benefactors, which include Art Basel’s vibrant audience and the Kickstarter community. The initiative has catalyzed much- needed support for outstanding non-commercial art projects worldwide and so far has helped pledge over $1.4 million to creative projects around the world. For Art Basel Cities, launched in 2016, Art Basel is working with selected partner cities to develop vibrant and content- driven programs specific to the individual city. Connecting them to the global art world through Art Basel's expertise and network, Art Basel Cities supports its partners to develop their unique cultural landscape. For further information please visit



Hong Kong show times:


Public Days

Thursday, March 23, 2017, 1pm to 8pm Friday, March 24, 2017, 1pm to 9pm Saturday, March 25, 2017, 11am to 6pm



Featured Image courtesy of Art Basel Hong Kong, Google Arts & Culture, and the artist



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