AR.Trail: Discover ‘invisible’ AR art at the National Gallery of Victoria

AR.Trail: Discover ‘invisible’ AR art at the National Gallery of Victoria

From a floating human skull to a neon pink warrior, visitors to the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) can experience eye-popping digital artworks by leading Australian and international contemporary artists as part of AR.Trail, one of Australia’s largest ever and free augmented reality (AR) exhibitions.

Viewable through the camera of a smart device, AR artworks by Reko Rennie, Ron Mueck, Alicia Kwade, KAWS and more appear in surprising and unexpected locations at NGV International and The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, as well as other key sites at Fed Square, ACMI and the Koorie Heritage Trust.

Presenting works that explore connections to the environment, the human condition and how people inhabit modern cities, AR.Trail is live across 22 locations now through 30 September 2022.

Funded through the Melbourne City Revitalisation Fund, a partnership between the Victorian Government and City of Melbourne, the AR arts tour will entice audiences into Melbourne’s cultural corridor and enhance their city experience. The ground-breaking AR technology also provides a new and innovative platform for Australian contemporary artists to present their work.

Highlight works on display at the NGV include Ron Mueck’s never-before-seen Head Space, in which a monumentally sized human skull floats over NGV International’s waterwall entrance. Referencing Mueck’s 2016-17 work Mass, originally commissioned for the 2017 NGV Triennial and acquired by the Felton Bequest, Head Space utilises the AR medium to present the work in a gravity-defying format that would not be possible in real life.

A further 10 works are on display across the NGV’s two venues including KAWS, Marco Brambilla, David Shrigley and Tomás Saraceno inhabiting gallery spaces inside NGV International, in addition to works by Olafur Eliasson, Koo Jeong A, and Precious Okoyomon positioned at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia.

Also on display is the first-ever AR presentation of Reko Rennie’s OA Warrior I (pink). An important work in the NGV Collection purchased via the Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists in 2020, the work represents the strength and power of a Kamilaroi warrior through vibrantly colourful neon pink lines. The work is viewable outside the Koorie Heritage Trust. Reko Rennie’s OA Warrior I (pink) and Ron Mueck’s Head Space have been especially commissioned for AR.Trail, alongside a new work by Patricia Piccinini, Shoeform (Sprouting), which will be located at Fed Square.

Tony Ellwood AM, Director of the NGV, said: ‘During the global pandemic, the NGV developed and presented cutting-edge virtual art experiences so that audiences continued to have access to arts and culture – even during the periods of lockdown. This Australian-first collaboration with Acute Art proudly builds upon NGV’s leading multimedia experience and will allow audiences to discover art in a way never-before possible.’

AR.Trail is a collaboration between London-based Acute Art and Melbourne’s NGV, Fed Square, ACMI and the Koorie Heritage Trust. Acute Art is responsible for app technology that enabled the highly successful AR exhibition across New York’s High Line and is now bringing this cutting-edge technology to Australia for the first time. Throughout the development of AR.Trail in Melbourne, Acute Art worked closely with NGV’s Multimedia Department, who created the 3D imagery for NGV Collection works and scanned geolocation sites for all 22 artworks.

AR.Trail is on display now through 30 September at 22 locations throughout NGV International, The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Fed Square, ACMI and the Koorie Heritage Trust. Further information is available via the NGV website: NGV.MELBOURNE