Virtual Reality has arrived in the art world

30th October 2017
Lanna Cooper

At Sotheby’s New York event for select guests from the art world and technology industry, the Kremer Collection announced the launch of the Kremer Museum, a new concept that combines technology with world-class masterpieces. Designed by architect Johan van Lierop, Founder of Architales and Principal at Studio Libeskind, the museum will feature over seventy 17th Century Dutch and Flemish Old Master paintings from the Collection and will be accessible exclusively through VR technology.  

For the creation of the museum, each painting has been photographed between 2,500 and 3,500 times using the ‘photogrammetry’ technique to build one ultra high resolution visual model for each painting, allowing the museum’s visitors to enjoy a deeply immersive experience with the paintings. Using VR technology, visitors will be able to examine the artworks’ surface and colours up-close, as well as view the reverse of the paintings to explore each work’s stamps of provenance.

Discussing the establishment of the Kremer Museum, George Kremer, Founder of the Kremer Collection, said: “Our journey as collectors has always been about finding the highest quality artworks and simultaneously finding ways to share them with as many people as possible. My wife Ilone and I believe we can make a greater contribution to the art world by investing in technology rather than in bricks and mortar for our collection.”

On designing the museum, architect Johan van Lierop noted: “To design a museum without gravity, plumbing or code regulations is a dream for every architect.”

van Lierop continued: “I think VR is to the 21st century what Dutch Realism was for the Golden Age, allowing the observer to escape into an alternative reality or mindset. Architecture often uses VR to enhance a project’s representation before it is built, often for real estate sales purposes, but using VR to embrace architecture as a spatial experience on itself was very unique to me. VR opens up a whole new realm for the architectural practice, where ideas and concepts are no longer bound to the limits of passive visuals but can be a fully immersive experience.”  

This virtual museum, which features meticulously recreated paintings and a space whose design alludes to the scientific and artistic vigour of the Golden Age, will be a leap forward in making it truly possible for the public to experience masterworks in a museum setting, regardless of background and location.

Kremer continued: “The Kremer Museum is a combined result of what we appreciate as collectors and art lovers, such as perfect lighting, the possibility to look at the back of the paintings, and a perfectly designed space by a world-class architect, and the hard work and vision of an incredibly committed team of highly talented and innovative producers and developers to make this come to life.

"The final product that Joël Kremer and his team have innovated pushes all boundaries - the resolution of the visuals is of a higher quality than the human eye can process, the museum is ready to scale to the improvements made to the resolution of the hardware in the near future, and therefore the experience will only get better and better.”

In the coming months, the Collection will host a number of exclusive pop-up events with a full VR set-up. Dates will be announced on the Kremer Collection’s website in due course.

In early 2018, the museum will release a mobile application on Google Play Store for Daydream that will allow people to visit the museum with any Google Daydream-ready smartphone and VR mask.  

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