CHAPTER 9: Unreal Estate (2015)- v.1.0
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Chapter 9: Unreal Estate
Unreal Estate is a site-specific simulation in which the Royal Academy of Arts has been sold off as a privately owned luxury estate.
Helicopters swoop on the penthouse helipad of a vast neo-classical complex. In the grounds, Anish Kapoor sculptures glint with dancing shards of light from a swimming pool lit by neon LEDs. Heat rises and cools in the summer air, condensing into mist and teasing the intrasingent line of the laser perimeter alarm encircling an oligarch, a business tycoon, a collector…
The Royal Academy’s high-vaulted ceilings, ornate plasterwork and Corinthian columns standing sentry over wide empty porticos are a shared architecture of the super-rich. It is this reality Lawrence Lek would have us enter as he keenly observes the vulnerable position these attractive features place the institution in, its design and prestigious art-world credentials exploited as sales tactics. The RA itself is on a rental contract, and set against the backdrop of London's current housing crisis, Lek leverages this crack in the facade of dominance and timelessness associated with the nation's most revered art establishment.
Text by Susanna Davies-Crook
Lawrence Lek uses video game software to imagine a future in which the Royal Academy of Arts has been sold off as a privately owned luxury estate.
This dystopian world, created for the Dazed Emerging Artist Award, is accompanied by a soundtrack by virtuoso cellist Oliver Coates and a voiceover of a found text from Russian Tatler magazine, translated into Mandarin by Joni Zhu.
Saturday 18 April to Sunday 17 May
Burlington Gardens Gallery
Royal Academy of Arts
6 Burlington Gardens
Converse x Dazed Emerging Artist Award 2015
Curated on behalf of Dazed by Susanna Davies-Crook
Bonus Levels is a utopian world-in-progress that unfolds as an ongoing series of software, videos, performances, and installations.
Conceived as a virtual novel, each chapter uses simulation as a medium to assemble site-specific collages of objects and places drawn from reality.
These critical fictions draw from the language of architecture and cinema to explore altered states of presence and memory that exist in digital space.
Each level is rendered visible to the observer through a first-person perspective, a flaneur's point of view where the desire to explore and the need for individual agency both exist.
Lawrence Lek (b. 1982, Frankfurt) explores the physical experience of simulated presence through software, hardware, installations and performance.