VR exhibit transports art lovers to early 20th century Paris
London's Tate Modern art gallery and mobile device maker HTC have collaborated on a virtual reality project aimed at enhancing the visitor experience at the most comprehensive Modigliani exhibition ever to be held in the UK. Visitors to The Ochre Atelier room can put on a Vive headset and enter the artist's studio, interact with objects and get a taste of what life was like for the controversial artist in early 20th century Paris.
Amedeo Modigliani is perhaps best known for his controversial nudes, which led to the authorities closing down his solo exhibition in 1917 on indecency grounds. The collection of a hundred works at the Tate Modern also includes portraits and sculptures. A key component of the Modigliani experience has been created in partnership with HTC, as part of the latter's multi-million dollar Vive Arts program that seeks to "change the way the world creates and engages with the arts."
Born in Livorno, Italy, in 1884, Modigliani began working in Paris, France, at the turn of the century. And it's his time in France that's the focus of the VR experience, where visitors can pop on a Vive headset and enter the artist's studio.
"The Vive will allow visitors to gain a unique perspective of Modigliani's life and inspirations, in a way that has never been done before," said the Tate. "Through the Vive, visitors can interact with the personalities, objects and settings that influenced his art, seeing the world through Modigliani's eyes for the first time."
The Ochre Atelier room has nine Vive headsets available for art lovers, who can look around the studio, examine more than 60 objects – from an ashtray containing smoking butts to tins of fish strewn across the floor – and hear narrated first-hand accounts from Modigliani's friends, as well as expert commentary from the Tate. The VR experience also contains digital reconstructions of two of the artist's late works, Jeanne Hébuterne and Self-Portrait.
Digital artists from Preloaded have painstakingly recreated the virtual space over 5 months of mapping and research, using the Paris studio where he worked during the final months of his life as a template. Modigliani died in 1920 from tubercular meningitis.
The Modigliani exhibit opens tomorrow and runs until April 2, 2018. From next month, Vive users at home can also have a look around the virtual studio when The Ochre Atelier is made available via the Viveport app store.