Non-fungible tokens (NFT) and generative art will be making waves at this year’s Art Basel Hong Kong in an exhibition built on Tezos, an energy-efficient public blockchain. Running from May 27 to 29, ‘NFTs + The Ever-Evolving World of Art’ marks the very first Tezos exhibition at Art Basel Hong Kong and will showcase the works of over 20 contemporary generative digital artists from around the world, each distinguished by their own unique styles and disciplines, effectively showcasing the diversity, strength, and potential of NFTs as an art medium.
With a dedicated 250m2 exhibition space located at Hall 1A of Hong Kong’s Convention & Exhibition Centre, ‘NFTs + The Ever-Evolving World of Art’ will see numerous projected works by leading generative and NFT artists hailing from the region across Brunei, China, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and South Korea. The exhibition will also see global representation, with artists from both North America and Europe, specifically from Bulgaria, Canada, France, Poland, Serbia, Switzerland, and the United States.
Participating artists include renowned Filipino painter and interdisciplinary artist Bjorn Calleja, whose works reflect the interplay between the micro- and macrocosms of humans within and against their environments; award-winning Singaporean artist Yeo Shih Yun who fuses traditional Chinese ink painting with contemporary new mediums; China’s Song Ting who created the very first NFT artwork to be auctioned on China Guardian, one of the world’s largest auction houses; as well as Franco-Canadian artist Nicolas Sassoon whose work, characterized by pixelated forms and figures, has been exhibited at renowned institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art (US), Victoria & Albert Museum (UK), and Centre Pompidou (FR).
The space will also include the renowned work of artists from around the globe: Nicolas Sassoon (France) Qingnan Tan (Random Combo) (China), Chaeseok (CS) Lim (South Korea), Lionel Radisson (makio135) (France), Yazid Azahari (Brunei), Munira Hamzah (Mumu the stan) (Malaysia), Iskra Velitchkova (Bulgaria), Michaël Zancan (France), Sarah Ridgley (United States), Aleksandra Jovanić (Serbia), Park Se Jin (08AM) (South Korea), Fan Yi Wen (Reva) (China), Matt DesLauriers (Canada), and Wieslaw Borkowski (baiwei) (Poland).
The overall exhibit incorporates a first-of-its-kind interactive installation created in collaboration with FXhash, a leading generative art NFT marketplace on Tezos. Visitors to the space will be able to interact with the installation and live-mint a 1/1 generative artwork NFT from one of the participating artist series, which will be simultaneously displayed in the installation and also sent to the visitor’s own NFT wallet as a gift. Designed as a generative living experience, the installation will update itself in real-time as artworks are created and gifted, replenishing the art on the wall with new renditions, also each unique 1/1 NFTs created by world-renowned artists. Participating in this interactive generative art installation will be Yazid Azahari, Sarah Ridgley, Marcelo Soria-Rodriguez, Ryan Bell, Jinyao Lin, Aluan Wang, Max Oshima (Lunarean), and Aleksandra Jovanić. Generative artworks are seen as a collaborative effort between ‘human’ and ‘machine’, where an artist creates an algorithm that is capable of producing pieces independently–once triggered by some input from the user, unique artwork is generated based on the algorithmic vision of the artist.
The interactive installation is expected to generate and gift between 5,000-8,000 editions of the works of the participating generative artists. To interact, visitors will scan a QR code in this exhibition space which will trigger the live-minting of a new artwork, which will then be projected in the exhibition. This will all take place in real-time, giving audiences a first-hand opportunity to engage and collaboratively generate their own one-of-a-kind artwork. These works will be minted as NFTs on the Tezos blockchain and will be accessible via Tezos’ browser-based Kukai wallet. Users will automatically be issued a wallet at the point of minting, created via direct authorization login to one’s social media account of choice.
Commenting on the upcoming exhibition, Singaporean visual artist Yeo Shih Yun said: “Throughout the course of the history of the art world, definitions as to what constitutes art have evolved over time. To see NFTs making their way to yet another edition of Art Basel points to the growing legitimacy of the medium as artists and collectors around the world recognize its value beyond crypto circles and social media. For artists such as myself, NFTs have provided a valuable platform to further my craft while enabling me to connect with a community of millions of creators who’ve all rallied around this technology and its ability to empower creatives across the globe.”
Yeo Shih Yun is a renowned Singaporean contemporary artist whose works reinterpret the traditional craft of Chinese ink painting with new media and performance art. To date, her works have received both local and international acclaim, including a commission by the Singapore Art Museum in 2011 — the country’s first fully dedicated contemporary visual arts museum. Shih Yun’s painting, “Conversations with Trees” was one of the finalists nominated for the Sovereign Asian Art Prize and was awarded the Sovereign Asian Art Prize People’s Choice Award in 2012, before the painting was finally auctioned by Christie’s Asia. In 1999 and 2007, Shih Yun also won the UOB Painting of the Year Competition (Distinction in Abstract category).
Looking at art in its totality, the most substantial increase in sales amongst the different regions was attributed to Asia, with an aggregate rise of 31%. The biggest contributors to this uptick include countries such as Hong Kong SAR, Singapore and Japan. While US buyers still accounted for the biggest portion of sales made in 2021, Asian collectors made up one third of all bids by value worldwide and almost half (46%) of the bid-on or bought lots over $5 million. This trend is mirrored in the NFTs space. Today, the continent is home to four out of five of the most NFT-curious countries in the world, with Central and Southeast Asia accounting for 35 percent of the US$22 billion global NFT industry. With such excitement concentrated in the continent, the exhibition looks to celebrate the staggering rise of NFT art and the potential that it stands to bring to the traditional art world. In particular, the exhibition also seeks to spotlight generative art, a category of art that is squarely at the intersection of art and technology.
Commenting on the exhibition, Katherine Ng, Head of Marketing and Operations at TZ APAC, said: “As the leading contemporary art fair in the world, it’s exciting to once again see the art community able to gather and celebrate the spirit of innovation in today’s art scene. To have the opportunity to showcase some of the world’s leading digital art talent is at the heart of what the Tezos ecosystem is celebrated for. NFTs have given these creators an unprecedented opportunity to reach new audiences, hone their craft, and make a name for themselves in an online forum, effectively rewriting the rulebook when it comes to the accessibility of the art world.”
In addition to the live-minting interactive showcase, the Tezos experience space will also feature a ‘Genius Bar’-style set-up, enabling artists, gallerists, and curators to learn more about NFTs directly from the Tezos ecosystem teams.
“In line with this year’s theme of ‘NFTs + the Ever-Evolving World of Art’, we’re excited to showcase especially innovative works that point to NFTs and their limitlessness as a medium, empowering artists as it redefines the scope and scale of today’s art world in the digital age. It’s time that we recognize this new generation of digital talent in a traditional forum as the worlds of modern art, technology, and the creator economy continue to converge,” continued Katherine.
With its energy-efficient design and low transaction fees, the Tezos ecosystem has cultivated a strong foundation of NFT artists, collectors, and builders from around the world, including cutting-edge brands looking to further their footprint in Web3. These include Formula 1 racing teams Red Bull Honda Racing and McLaren Racing, banking behemoth Société Générale, gaming giant Ubisoft, American fashion brand GAP, and many more.
Art Basel Hong Kong 2022 will feature 130 local and international exhibitors. For those unable to attend the event in person, galleries will also be presenting their work online as part of ‘Art Basel Live: Hong Kong’, in dedicated Online Viewing Rooms. ‘NFTs and the Ever-Evolving World of Art’ will be on view on an invite-only basis from May 24 to 30, 2022, with access to the general public from May 27 to 29, 2022 at Hong Kong’s Convention & Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai.
Tezos is smart money, redefining what it means to hold and exchange value in a digitally connected world. A self-upgradable and energy-efficient Proof of Stake blockchain with a proven track record, Tezos seamlessly adopts tomorrow’s innovations without network disruptions today.
About TZ APAC
TZ APAC Pte. Ltd. (“TZ APAC”) is the leading Asia-based blockchain adoption entity supporting the Tezos ecosystem. It designs value-added blockchain transformation strategies for enterprises and creators with a bottom-up approach, working closely with blockchain experts and other stakeholders in the Tezos ecosystem. TZ APAC is supported by the Tezos Foundation and is headquartered in Singapore.
FXhash is an open platform where artists can publish Generative Tokens which are stored on the Tezos blockchain. Generative Tokens are programs designed to produce random outputs. Once a Generative Token is enabled (when the artist decides it), anyone with a Tezos wallet can mint their own unique iteration of the Generative Token. Each iteration produces a unique piece that is stored as an NFT on the Tezos blockchain. The NFTs are FA2 compliant, which means that they can be exchanged like any other NFT everywhere in the Tezos ecosystem.
About Art Basel
Founded in 1970 by gallerists from Basel, Art Basel today stages the world’s premier art shows for Modern and contemporary art, sited in Basel, Miami Beach, and Hong Kong. Defined by its host city and region, each show is unique, which is reflected in its participating galleries, artworks presented, and the content of parallel programming produced in collaboration with local institutions for each edition. Art Basel’s engagement has expanded beyond art fairs through new digital platforms and a number of new initiatives such as the Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report, Intersections: The Art Basel Podcast, and the BMW Art Journey. Art Basel’s Global Media Partner is The Financial Times.
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