Hauser & Wirth announces the gallery’s first entirely VR-based exhibition under the newly launched research and innovation arm, ArtLab. Opening on 30 April the group exhibition, entitled ‘Beside Itself’, takes place in the gallery of the future, Hauser & Wirth Menorca, allowing visitors a first look at the art centre ahead of its opening in 2021. Visitors will be able to experience the exhibition created in HWVR, a first in virtual reality exhibition modeling, through the gallery’s website.
The HWVR exhibition ‘Beside Itself’ takes its title from a wall piece by Lawrence Weiner and brings together text-based works from the following artists: Louise Bourgeois, Mark Bradford, Charles Gaines, Ellen Gallagher, Jenny Holzer, Roni Horn, Luchita Hurtado, Mike Kelley, Glenn Ligon, Damon McCarthy, Paul McCarthy, Bruce Nauman, Lorna Simpson and Lawrence Weiner. Spanning a period from the 1970s to the present day, these works explore the intersection of text and the visual image from Bourgeois’s etching ‘Le Coeur Est La’ to Mark Bradford’s bold printed words in ‘New York City’.
‘We are delighted to reveal our inaugural exhibition in HWVR’, says Iwan Wirth. ‘Many of the best innovations are driven by necessity. When we created ArtLab and first began developing the HWVR art experience, our primary goal was to create technology that would help our artists visualize the spaces where their exhibitions would be presented. We were equally motivated by a desire to plan exhibitions for our locations around the globe in a way that would reduce the amount of travel and transportation. Given the current situation, with so many in essential self-isolation, we feel this new approach to virtual reality exhibitions is especially relevant, will engage as many people as possible and bring them together while we’re all apart.’
‘Beside Itself’, Hauser & Wirth’s first exhibition in HWVR, will open on 30 April 2020 and can be experienced via the gallery’s website, accessed by a computer, smart phone or using a VR headset such as google cardboard.
ArtLab was formed by Hauser & Wirth to create bespoke technology solutions for the most pressing issues in the art world, including greater accessibility and sustainability. It began with intensive research in Summer 2019, focused upon practical steps toward responsibly reducing the gallery’s carbon footprint associated with mounting exhibitions globally. Simultaneously, the ArtLab team began exploring innovations that will allow audiences to fully experience exhibitions in different local contexts without traveling—a project that takes on greater meaning and urgency amid the COVID-19 pandemic—while permitting artists, curators, and exhibition coordinators to better prepare shows using new technology. ArtLab will host a digital residency program at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles for artists and their teams by invitation to enable them to connect with, and to explore, the full potential of the new technology.
HWVR uses a bespoke technology-stack not found in any other industry. Drawing from techniques applied in architecture, construction and video-game design, the tool creates true-to-life scale and accuracy, as well as the authentic look, feel, and interactivity of our galleries. HWVR builds the virtual 3D space from the ground up at a pixel level, rather than relying on combined photos, which gives an unprecedented level of accuracy and flexibility.