In Lyon, an exhibition between real and virtual with digital art pioneer Yacine Aït Kaci

You may have already come across the silhouette of Elyx on social networks, a simple little man, no frills with a laughing eye and smile, all drawn in very real landscapes. Created by Yacine Aït Kaci in 2011, this character became a star of social networks and then in 2015, the first and only “digital ambassador” of the United Nations. Before that, the artist born in 1973 in Paris (but who lived a large part of his childhood in Algiers) went through the Decorative Arts before becoming in turn a designer, author, director and multimedia artist.

Today, Yacine Aït Kaci (known on the networks as ElyxYak) is at the heart of an exhibition on display until March 11, 2022 at 1111, the Céline Moine and Laurent Giros gallery In Lyon. It brings together portraits of Elyx with works by Andy Warhol, king of pop art.

But this exhibition is not limited to a “physical” display of the works on the gallery wall. “A virtual exhibition will reproduce this work with Elyx, but also the presence of Warhol, through the computer, the laptop and – for those who are lucky enough to have one – a virtual reality headset with which we can walk in the digital version of the exhibition”, explains Yacine Aït Kaci.

The virtual gallery of the Yacie Aït Kaci exhibition in Lyon.  (T. Swiderski / France Televisions)

This virtual reality experience is a real plus for lovers of art and digital art in particular. But it now goes much further as explained by Niwin, a collector who uses the platform Art Blocks to unearth original, interactive and generative works. This last term refers to a practice that uses algorithms to independently generate a work. “What is funny, explains the collector while touching the screen of his computer, it’s that you can zoom, move and interact with the work.”

Niwin, a digital art collector selects works on the Art Blocks platform.  (T. Swiderski / France Televisions)

The works that Niwin collects are entirely virtual: under no circumstances will he hang them in his living room. But he paid well to obtain this digital asset, which is certified and secure. This is called NFTs (for “non-fungible token”, in French “non-exchangeable token”), tamper-proof digital certificates that attest to the authenticity of a virtual object, and indicating who sold it. , who bought it and for how much.

According to the article of TV5 World which clearly explains this concept, which is not very easy to grasp for digital neophytes, this system has boosted the art market and digital art in particular. With it, buying and collecting works of art has become more accessible. As for the artists, they find their public and buyers more easily. “We are really at the beginning of a renaissance of digital art by this system, confirms Niwin, because it allows access to artists from all over the world on platforms where anyone can decide to sell their art or make it available on the other side of the planet to someone like me who is looking for beautiful things to buy.”

Hundreds of digital works are listed on the Art Blocks platform.  (T. Swiderski / France Televisions)

Niwin is indeed the sole holder and owner of the digital work that he pays for, but unlike a very “real” painting that one buys to put at home, this work will remain visible and downloadable by Internet users around the world.

Notice to amateurs: on the occasion of the Elyx-Andy Warhol exhibition in Lyon, 1111 NFTs are on display 111 of which will duplicate in a single draw.

Carte blanche Yacine Aït Kaci “Elyx – Andy Warhol” – Le 1111 – Celine Moine & Laurent Giros Fine Art Gallery, 11 rue Chavanne 69001 Lyon. First floor. Open Wednesday to Saturday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. or by appointment

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