I n collaboration with Sapling, Sotheby’s are proud to present You Are Here: Albrecht Dürer and VR Overview Effect.
This exhibition invites you to pivot your gaze between two vantage points: skyward and earthward. To look skyward is to glimpse the cosmos framed by the earth. To look earthward is to consider the planet from the vastness of space.
Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) explored and captured the early modern vision of looking skyward, expressing both fear and wonder. With unrivalled talent, he rendered observational naturalism alongside mystical apparitions with astonishing illusionism. Created with great fidelity to nature, Dürer’s prints were disseminated widely. Becoming the first travelling masterpieces, they played a part in framing how humanity has looked at the natural world and the cosmos from the early to the late modern era.
Five centuries on, VR Overview Effect will guide you through a simulation of looking earthward. Dr. Annahita Nezami developed the project based on interviews with astronauts. They described the overview effect as a mental reorganisation of their perception of self in relation to the universe. Witnessing the miraculous fragility of Earth in space produced an intense emotional response of care for our planet. In 1968, the first colour image of Earth whole in space, known as Earthrise, triggered a paradigm shift for humanity, consolidated by the 1969 moon landings, broadcast live to 4 billion viewers.
Dürer wrote that “the new art must be based on science.” He pushed the boundaries of media in his prints, which are here placed in dialogue with virtual reality. We invite you to consider how technologies have mediated our viewpoints both sky and earthward. What tools might Dürer have used, had he been alive today?
A lot has changed, yet despite our technology we remain the angel in Melencolia I, burdened by the complex and obscure nature of the universe. Faced with all the mystery and wonder of it all, we do know one thing.
You are here. Take a look around.
124 Mount Street Mews
London W1K 3NR
12:00 PM–6:00 PM