TUESDAY 4 JUL 2017 1:16 PM


Amedeo Modigliani, for over a decade, steered the Parisian avant-garde to its bohemian heights. Removed of his “dirty bourgeois,” the Italian painter’s artistry often enchants, as elongated faces and figurative strokes typify his seldom pedestrian style. Yet Modigliani’s portfolio is frequently overlooked, and since his unexpected death in 1920 at the age of just 35, his posthumous legacy has long chased after the mystery of his character. As Tate Modern prepares to showcase the artist’s oeuvre, the gallery’s partnership with HTC Vive seeks to offer Modigliani like never before, using VR technology to tell his story.

The exhibition, set to run from November 2017 to April 2018, will allow viewers to become fully immersed in the work, using HTC’s integrated VR experience, known as Vive. Drawing on archival material and a contextualised recreation of Paris during the early 1900s, the exhibition will harness VR technology to bring to life Modigliani’s transformation. Moving from Italy to France in 1906, Modigliani’s artistic output embedded itself deep within the freneticism of Paris’ café society. His work’s expressionist, unguarded nature often symbolised a provocative suffering, sadness and scandal, extending also to sculpture work, much like his cubist predecessor, Pablo Picasso.

Frances Morris, director of Tate Modern, says, “We are thrilled to be working with Vive to bring a new and exciting digital experience to our visitors. We are always looking to push creative boundaries and we think this will be a fantastic opportunity to give the public a different and in-depth understanding of this much-loved artist through new technology.”

Yet for Tate Modern, the gallery’s ascendancy has traditionally favoured a more structured formula, with decades of sponsorship from companies such as Unilever, BP and more recently Hyundai. The partnership with HTC Vive however, aims to leverage the possibilities of digital experience. Although nascent, VR is climbing up the ranks as a breakthrough tool, transforming the customer experience by pushing the boundaries of product offering. HTC Vive has found a niche within the artistic world, recently featuring in venues such as the Royal Academy of Arts, Venice Biennale and Somerset House.

Paul Brown, GM for HTC Vive, Europe, says, “We are delighted to be partnering with Tate Modern on this ground-breaking exhibition. At the start of the 20th century, Modigliani was a pioneering force in art innovation, pushing boundaries and new possibilities which inspired his peers and contemporaries. At Vive, we see something similar at the start of the 21st century with VR, and with Vive we want to revolutionise the way people create and experience art. Our relationship with Tate is another step towards bringing people closer to art than ever before."