CHAOS: A Collision of Things
In CHAOS, contemporary art maverick Urs Fischer introduces his first series of completely digitally native sculptures centered upon “mesmerizing collisions” which bring into question not only our relationships to various materials and “things”, but also how these objects relate to each other and the human experience at its core.
NFTs and The Contemporary Art Market
Despite an abundance of stupefying creations to dive into within the CHAOS series, one of the most significant collisions that CHAOS represents is that which has been ignited between a number of diverse art communities, emerging spaces and established institutions: A big bang moment which harmoniously embraces NFTs as the future of experiential art.
The CHAOS series has garnered the attention and support from all corners of the art world connecting renowned gallery spaces like Pace Gallery– one of the world’s leading contemporary art galleries, innovative auction apps like that of Fair Warning– the brain child of former Christie’s co-chairman/industry legend Loic Gouzer and MakersPlace – the premiere NFT platform and one of the space’s earliest enablers, under Fischer’s vision of evolving art and objects.
The year 2021 has served as an inflection point for the NFT art movement with ground-breaking sales within the space grabbing the attention of the art world at large, most notably the 69.3 million dollar sale of digital artist Beeple’s The First 5000 Days- a collaborative effort between MakersPlace and Christie’s which marked the third highest artwork sale of any living artist and highest digital artwork sale of all time.
For the first time ever, NFTs infiltrated mainstream art conversations and flocks of curious collectors dived into the movement eager to learn and experience what this new art for is all about. Since its inception in 2018, the NFT, or crypto art market, has seen over $592,224,208 (329,608.575 ETH) in global sales, with the bulk of sales happening in 2021 and 64 million dollars in sales taking place in April 2021 alone. While this represents a small fraction of the billion dollar global art market, the immense growth within this space that has occurred just in the past few months reminds us that we are merely scratching the surface and sends a promising signal of what is to come in the NFT art space.
CHAOS in The Art World
CHAOS is a series consisting of 1000 objects, paired together to form 500 creations, each one its own visual conversation. These works are composed of arbitrary representations of cultural artifacts, historical symbolism, anecdotes and phenomenons – each with a unique story to tell. An exploration of human nature, and our need for a variety of tools, the artworks are centered around manmade objects and the roles they’ve played throughout our cultural history.
These artworks highlight the interplay between objects and their deeper meanings to human beings – some obvious, some humorous and some painstakingly contemplative. In CHAOS, Urs Fischer deep dives into these themes, exploring the various stories these objects have to tell, reshaping our perception of our world and role within it in the process. Like the artworks in CHAOS, these artworks highlight the depth of human desire, stories and needs.
Starting with the debut of the series on Fair Warning, a fine art focused app and digital sales platform founded by Loic Gouzer, the very first CHAOS artwork led the way. What came as a shock to some, the edition #1 CHAOS sold for $97,700.
From there, seemingly nothing could stop CHAOS as editions 2,3,4 and many more sold on MakersPlace for well into the 5 and 6 figure ranges.
Also fueling the fire was Gouzer’s reputation to curate and sell extremely sought after works of art. One of the most notable being Salvator Mundi by da Vinci, selling at auction for $450 million: the highest price ever paid for a piece of art.
So far, the CHAOS series has reached total sales volumes of over $1,000,000 USD including edition #1 and a few others that broke the 6-figure mark for a single digital sculpture.
Coming to Pace this week is the exciting continuation of Fischer’s series, combining objects more unique to each other than ever before! Broccoli collides with a kitchen sponge, a running shoe combines with a shower head, and so on. CHAOS # 20 through CHAOS # 25
Urs Fischer, born in Switzerland and based in New York City, is widely regarded as one of the leading forces of the contemporary art movement today. His work, which includes sculpture, photography and large scale installations, acts as a “collision” of things”, carefully orchestrating a delicate, often humor-infused, dance between everyday objects and their relationships to human existence throughout history. Through these interactions, Fischer reminds us of the contradiction, complexity and impermanence of simply being. A Duchampion take on representationalism, Fischer’s artwork explores material and their impact. It is disruptive at its core, combining forces, compounding flow and creating dialogue amongst both his subject matter and audience.
Fischer has been creating in various forms since he was a teenager. He recalls the moment he fell in love with art in a London museum, where he made the realization that artwork was one of the only things in the world which allows each individual that interacts with it to take something away while remaining completely unaltered. He’s been experimenting with different mediums and art forms his entire life, with emerging technology playing a central role in his ever evolving creation process.
Fischer has been exhibited extensively across the globe, with leading galleries, including Gagosian; Sadie Coles HQ, London; Massimo de Carlo, Milan; The Modern Institute, Glasgow; Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin and Jeffrey Deitch, New York and Los Angeles. Solo exhibitions at major museums include Palazzo Grassi, Venice; Kunsthalle Vienna; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Garage Museum, Moscow; Fondation Vincent Van Gogh, Arles; Legion of Honor, San Francisco; Aïshti Foundation, Beirut. Fischer has public installation and works in major private collections around the world. Fischer’s playful Untitled (Lamp/Bear) sculpture has become a landmark outright at Hamad International Airport, Doha.
His artworks have been sold at auction for millions at renowned auction houses such as Christie’s.
What is an NFT?
An NFT is a collectible asset, in a purely digital form. As is very much the case with physical artworks and collectibles, the defining value propositions of NFTs boil down to ownership, experience and passion. Like their physical counterparts, digital collectibles are in high demand yet hard to come by. They are unique in nature, with provable scarcity and intense desirability. Their value is defined by originality, rareness and impact.
In digital arts’ case, an NFT is a digital token which contains not only the artwork itself, but all important details of provenance and authenticity associated with it.
- Completely unique – No two NFTs are the same
- Indivisible – Partial ownership of an NFT is not possible
- Unchangeable – The information on an NFT is permanent and indelible
These three factors make NFTs a crucial means of establishing and verifying the scarcity of a digital asset such as artwork.
Artworks in NFT form contain the digital artwork file, signature of the artist, creation time, and all subsequent transactions related to the artwork, or NFT. This identifiable information can be found in the smart contract of an NFT.
NFTs exist on and are authenticated via a “blockchain”, which is a publicly accessible online database not owned by any central authority, where nothing can be altered. Blockchain technology provides the mechanism for which NFTs are authenticated by digitally attaching a permanent signature and established provenance to a digital artwork.
Most NFTs operate on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain network and are technically referred to as ERC-721 tokens, though many other NFT token types exist.
New Possibilities For NFTs
NFTs provide an entirely new way to interact with art, transforming screens into canvases and breathing life and motion into what once had no option for mobility. It has opened the doors for digital creativity to thrive. Once collectors add an NFT to their collection, the possibilities for what can be done with it are essentially endless.
Below are some of the basics of what can physically be done with any NFT, we expect this list to expand greatly as time goes on.
- Enjoy it in person – You can display your NFT artwork in your space or in a pubic viewing area using a digital frame like Canvia or a monitor.
- Display it online – There are also a number of virtual options available for displaying your artworks, such as virtual galleries, exhibitions and events that exist online.
- Sell it for a profit – Much like physical art, digital art is often viewed as an investment and artworks can be resold for a profit on the secondary market
- Long term investment – The relatively novel digital art market is growing at rapid pace meaning impressive returns for those who hold their pieces and sell in the future
- Buy to love – The overarching reason to invest in an artwork, physical or digital, is connection and fascination. Let your eyes and heart guide you.
As the NFT space continues to evolve, it is clear that the way we once interacted with artworks and artists will evolve alongside – introducing a more personal, immersive and dynamic interaction and experience of works within the emerging movement.
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