Augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR, respectively) have infiltrated the art world more and more, and KAWS has thrown his hat in the ring. Today, the artist, known for his iconic x-eyed figures launched EXPANDED HOLIDAY featuring Companion, KAWS’ signature character.
To bring his greyscale pal to AR, the Brooklyn-based artist spent a year working with Acute Art, an AR and VR specialist firm. Being that the artwork is virtual, it allows for the exhibition to be public and world-wide. The public exhibition is split into two portions, titled COMPANION (EXPANDED) and the works that will accompany it, called AT THIS TIME (EXPANDED).
As for the exhibition, it spans six continents with AR in Doha, Hong Kong, London, Melbourne, New York (with two installations here), Paris, São Paulo, Seoul, Serengeti, Taipei, and Tokyo. When using the app, COMPANION (EXPANDED) looms large, like an over-sized balloon, over the space it’s set in. If you aren’t in those places, don’t fret, they’ll be plenty of photos and videos online and KAWS has paved the way on his Instagram.
‘When I realized the quality that could be achieved and experienced in AR, I was immediately drawn to its potential,’ said KAWS via Acute Art. ‘I have been creating objects and exhibiting works in public spaces throughout my career, and this allows me to expand on that in a whole new arena. the possibilities of locations and scale are endless, and I’m excited to start a new dialogue in this medium.’
AT THIS TIME (EXPANDED) is yet another way to experience the art for yourself, even in your own home. For seven to 30 days, you can become an AR collector with your edition of the work through the Acute Art app. These allow you to have an AR Companion everywhere you and your phone are – even other artists, like Olafur Eliasson have joined in on the fun. This edition is available in three different colour schemes.
For 25 extra lucky collectors, KAWS and Acute Art released 25 1.8m AR sculptures of CAMPION (EXPLANDED) at $10,000 each, which are already sold out, but KAWS even advises to check out the secondary market to maybe get one for yourself in the future.
‘He emergence of a new medium always gives rise to new possibilities for art,’ said Daniel Birnbaum, Acute Art’s artistic director, in designboom. ‘Each epoch seems to have its key artists in whose work a novel encounter between technology and artistic creativity crystallizes. Today’s immersive media create entirely new possibilities for the production and distribution of art and the arrival of AR can even be said to give rise to a new immaterial art form. With this project KAWS breaks new ground but also returns to his beginnings. With roots in public interventions as well as late emanations of pop art, KAWS has created new global audiences. There is no artist more talked about today than KAWS.’