A new art installation reveals the sounds of colour in paintings as the National Gallery X commissions virtual responses to coronavirus. Viewers will feel, hear and sense paintings online through an immersive multi-sensory video artwork inspired by masterpieces in the National Gallery by Van Gogh, Monet and van Eyck.
Commissioned by its new digital studio National Gallery X (NGX), which explores the impact of future technology on art and museum experiences, KIMA: Colour in 360 by Analema Group is a residency launched today, 2 June 2020, as part of a programme responding to coronavirus.
Three video works transform colour data from van Eyck’s The Arnolfini Portrait, Monet’s Water-Lilies, Setting Sun and Van Gogh’s A Wheatfield, with Cypresses into 360-degree light and sound experiences. Two of these are available to view on YouTube and the National Gallery website from today, at www.nationalgallery.org.uk/whats-on/analema-at-ngx with the Van Eyck-inspired work following later.
Originally conceived as installations in the NGX studio, they have been reconceived to play online at home on mobile, tablet and computer, allowing audiences to reflect on the artistic practices of painters from the Renaissance to the Impressionists through layers of light and sound.
For KIMA: Colour – Kima is a Greek word for ‘wave’ – Analema Group has worked with scientists and curators from the National Gallery and data and algorithm experts from King’s College to seek a deeper understanding of both the art and science of colour in National Gallery paintings. In addition to this investigation of colour, they have also used techniques to transform the colour data from pictures in the Gallery’s collection into light and sound installations.
This virtual artist residency by Analema Group, announced today by NGX, is part of a programme that takes the lockdown as its context and subject and offers a series of creative and philosophical responses to the new world coronavirus has created.
NGX’s digital events programme will be led on 16 June by the first in a series of one-night immersive events in collaboration with London’s media art platform Art in Flux. ‘ART IN FLUX @ NGX’ will present cutting-edge artworks exploring the boundaries between art and technology. Pioneering media artists, researchers and academics will present their work, that relates to contemporary art practices, in the wider context of the National Gallery. Demonstrations of new media art will be presented alongside interactive art pieces and performances – accessible exclusively online.
NGX launched in September 2019 in partnership with King’s College London and supported by Google Arts & Culture. Its opening event featured Sir Tim Berners Lee and, the results of its first residency, an immersive sound performance by composer Peter Wiegold and sound artist Keir Vine responding to Joseph Mallord William Turner’s Rain, Steam and Speed. Since then it has run events with legendary artist and director Robert Wilson; a sector-first event on 5G with UK5G; a hackathon for King’s students with Deloitte Digital, and seminars and workshops with Christie’s Education and Museum-iD. Its first artist residency, by immersive art collective Analema Group, was due to open just after the National Gallery’s buildings closed to the public on 18 March.
NGX’s residency programme is led by its co-director, artist and researcher Ali Hossaini. He curates and collaborates with residents, helping them build creative links between the Gallery and King’s College London researchers. NGX residencies are presented as living research – works in progress supported by data analysis to understand how audiences respond to them, and how they change a visitor’s perception of art and the National Gallery’s collections.
Dr Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, says: “It may seem paradoxical that a Gallery whose doors are shut due to the pandemic can be even more creative than before. But the Analema Group’s residency at NGX shows how the nation’s pictures are inspiring a new generation of digital artists to respond in unprecedented ways even in lockdown.”
Ali Hossaini, NGX Co-director, says: “Coronavirus slammed the accelerator on long-term trends. For 200 years, the National Gallery has welcomed the world through its doors, then the unimaginable happened. We had to bring the National Gallery into people’s homes. Analema has given us a boundless meditation on the essence of painting.”
KIMA: Colour runs from 2 June 2020 at: www.nationalgallery.org.uk/whats-on/analema-at-ngx