Posted: January 3, 2019 -
Acute Art was established in 2017 by Swedish art collector Gerard De Geer and his son Jacob De Geer with the aim of bringing together artistic vision with the most cutting-edge technologies, including Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Realities. As a company they are committed to finding ways of taking digital artworks to the public through traditional means of the art fair and art institution as well as through their website and app. In the short time they have been founded Acute Art have already collaborated with leading artists such as Jeff Koons, Marina Abramovic, Anish Kapoor, Louisa Clement, Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg, Olafur Eliasson, Jakob Steensen, and Christo and Jeanna Claude at the Serpentine Lake this past summer in London’s Hyde Park. Here we talk to Acute Art’s Head of Communications, Irene Due and delve further into what the companies aims are as well as their hopes for the future.
Hello Irene, thank you for agreeing to speak to us today.
What is your role at Acute Art and how did you come to work there?
I am Head of Communications at Acute Art, based at Somerset House. Acute Art collaborates with the world’s most compelling contemporary artists, providing access to cutting-edge technologies that allow them to translate their creative vision into new digital mediums – including virtual, augmented and mixed realities.
I previously worked with the Blenheim Art Foundation where we put on an exhibition of Jenny Holzer’s work in 2017. For twelve evenings Blenheim Palace played host to Jenny Holzer’s light projections which were projected onto the building’s façade and the nearby island. It was an ambitious project that used augmented reality to explore the virtual potential of space.
I would say this kickstarted my interest in Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality and lead me to Acute Art which is an entirely new kind of institution interested in exploring unknown experimental territory in new and exciting ways.
Can you tell us a bit more about what the company does?
We consider ourselves a technical partner for artists interested in using AR, VR and Mixed Reality to create original artworks.
The development of art pieces consists and starts with working very closely with each artist explaining the different technologies available to them. They regularly come to our studios and we produce a prototype which is the starting point for creating the final piece.
I would say it’s a very collaborative approach, we also visit the artist’s studio to ensure that the artist’s vision is being conveyed as best it can.
You have worked with some amazing artists. Do you have a favourite project?
It is hard to choose, but a particular work that was very exciting to be a part of was Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg’s piece, It Will End in Stars. The work evokes fairytales which we all encountered in childhood and combines distinctive sculpted figures with black and white charcoal drawings. It is set to a rather unsettling soundtrack by Hans Berg. If you download our app Acute Art you will be able to view the work on an android or apple phone.
I particularly enjoy this work because Natalie’s practice lends itself very well to VR. She is known for her videos which are often uncomfortable to watch, and VR as a medium allows you to be completely engulfed by the story.
In what ways have you seen VR disrupt the art market?
I think it is still early days to say it’s disrupting the art market, but I do think that because of the nature of digital art it has the capacity to shake up the market.
Several of the artists we are working with are interested in democratizing art and are excited about the possibilities these new types of medium present. We too are very much on board with making art accessible to all and like to explore this through our collaborations and digital platforms.
I think the art market will adjust and with time an increasing number of people will be able to view art in VR. I predict we will be seeing a lot of artists using AR and VR in the future.
We recently published an article on the potential of VR and how it might affect the art fair – it would be interesting to hear your views.
I don’t know if it will affect it per se, but I think it will open another avenue of experiencing it. I read your article on VR and how it could affect the art fair and I agree that VR will be used in more art fairs in the future. It will continue to be used and subsequently more people will be able to experience the art fair in VR.
However, I don’t think we will see the physical art fair die out altogether as it is an integral part of the art market. When Acute Art first started we wanted everything to be digital, but soon realised there needs to be a physical launch and physical contact in order to promote what we are doing. I like to compare it to the music industry, even though we have Spotify and iTunes where we can listen to whatever music whenever, people still want to go to the concert or festival and physically experience the music first hand, as well as the environment that comes with it. I think it is similar with the art market, there will always be the need for the art fair and the gallery.
How do you see Acute Art progressing in the coming years?
We will continue to produce artworks and show them at museums, cultural spaces and art fairs. We will also increase our selection of artworks on our Acute Art app, available on both Google play and the App Store.
Daniel Birnbaum will join us as our new Director which is very exciting. He is a very prominent figure in the art world and his experience means we will continue to work with incredible artists.
We have lots of exciting projects coming up in 2019 so please keep an eye on our social media channels and website.
Image: Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg It Will End in Stars, (c) acuteart