Since the consumer launch of the HTC Vive in 2016, Vive has been working on trying to find ways of integrating the new technology into various forms of culture and art. The Vive Arts Program started in 2015 in partnership with the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) with Virtually Real exhibition. The project invited contemporary artists to experiment and create work in virtual reality (VR) that would eventually be 3D printed and showcased to the public. Vive also worked with British artist Mat Colliwshaw on his VR exhibition Thresholds that ran at the Somerset House, London. Vive hasn’t only participated with artists in London, but has also partnered with the National Palace Museum in Taipei to educate and provide access to the museums in remote regions.
Announced back in June this year, Vive have also partnered with Tate Modern on bringing VR to Tate Modern’s highly anticipated Modigliani exhibition. VRFocus spoke to Paul Brown, the General Manage of HTC Vive Europe about the immersive experience in the center of the Modigliani exhibition at Tate Modern.
The Modigliani exhibition runs from the 23rd November 2017, until 2nd April 2018, so for art lovers who have always wanted to try VR or for the youngsters dragged to museums by their parents – there is an opportunity to be immersed into the world of Italian artist Modigliani. The exhibition is the most comprehensive Modigliani exhibition ever held in the UK, bringing togetehr his iconic portraits, sculptures and the largest ever group of nudes to be shown in the UK. Although Modigliani died tragically young, he was a ground-breaking artist who pushed the boundaries of art at his time. Including 100 works – many of them rarely exhibited and nearly 40 of which have never been shown in the UK – the exhibition re-evaluates one of the greatest artist of the twentieth century.
Whilst perusing through the gallery and rooms, one will find VR experience The Ochre Atelier set up by Vive. Nine HTC Vive head-mounted displays (HMDs) will bring a user to Modigliani’s original studio in Paris in 1919. The nine to ten minute guided experience features various quotes, and bits of information about Modigliani’s life, his paintings and eventually painting a picture of what led to his tragic death. This is the first time Tate Modern has showcased any VR technology. The seated experience is the result of five months of mapping and rigorous historical research, the space, its interiors and objects. Tate selected VR studio Preloaded to create the experience. Each of the over 60 objects featured in The Ochre Atelier has been carefully research and authentically modelled by 3D artist and modellers, from a packet of cigarettes to the way the windows would have opened to let the light in. Two late works, Jeane Hebuterne 1919 and Self-portrait 1919 have been reconstructed at the Tate in collaboration with colleagues at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art, University of Sao Paulo.
Brown says this is the first time they’ve helped create a piece of content that is integrated into an experience to enhance the life of the artist. He also says The Ochre Atelier will be available for HTC Vive users via the Viveport, in December 2017. This will be a roomscale and much longer experience that will allow users to interact with various objects in the room. Admission is £19.70 GBP (without donation £17.70), concession tickets are £17.90 (without donation £15.90). The Modigliani exhibition is open daily from 10.00-18.00 and until 22.00 on Friday and Saturday. Or if one owns an HTC Vive, one can simply wait for the experience to be available on Viveport.
To find out more about the Vive Arts Program watch the video below. VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest installations from Vive.