In the surreal world of René Magritte

By Anna Savitskaya - Thursday, March 12, 2015
In the surreal world of René Magritte

In these times, we see more and more the partnership of technology and art taking ever more creative forms and shapes. In the realm of computer animation, with its ability to create new characters and revive old ones, the attention seems to be turning towards painting techniques and how these might be digitally adopted.

In the surreal world of René Magritte

In these times, we see more and more the partnership of technology and art taking ever more creative forms and shapes. In the realm of computer animation, with its ability to create new characters and revive old ones, the attention seems to be turning towards painting techniques and how these might be digitally adopted. Recently we talked with the producer of “Loving Vincent”, Hugh Welchman, whose team is about to finish the first full length animation drawn by painters, following in the style and technique of Vincent van Gogh. Now, another art-animation project is taking shape at the hands of Ali Eslami, who has taken on the similar challenge of giving life to artworks, in this case those of Réne Magritte, by creating a 3D game-like space that is surrounded by works of the artist. It is especially interesting for Ali to show Magritte’s works together, and literally place them on the walls near each other, because of their surreal scenes and brain teasing ideas. Ali Eslami selected the works for his video according to their compatibility and their effect on the viewer, with the aim of  preserving the surreal features of each work, whilst at the same time emphasizing the mysterious atmosphere of each painting. Ali spoke with us about his project, sharing his reasons for choosing Magritte, and some secrets on the process of creation for his video.

Artdependence Magazine: Why did you choose Magritte as your subject?

Ali Eslami: My interest in Pop Art paintings, for their unique atmosphere and colors, led me to recreate them in 3D so that I could have a richer experience of them. Perhaps I do it just to momentarily place myself elsewhere. Time passed and having kept this passion alive, I got into Unreal Engine 4. I found Réne Magritte's paintings ideal for what I meant to do since, while his style shares similarities with Pop Art, it exists in a surreal world.

© Ali Eslami

AD: Do you have any plans to do something similar with other artists?

AE: I haven't decided that yet. Maybe I will develop this project to feature more painters in different levels. Réne Magritte's paintings had the potential to be re-created in 3D, so I should see if any other paintings would fit this kind of work.

AD: How long did it take to complete this project?

AE: It took me about 2 months. 1 month for modeling the Assets in 3D and texturing them, and another month for user interactions and setting up assets in Game engine.

© Ali Eslami

AD: Can you explain exactly how you did this, the techniques that you used?

AE: I just spent some time searching through Magritte's works and choosing the ones that I could relate to and try to design a scene around. That's the point when the assets modeling begins in Cinema 4D and next comes the texturing. I import the assets to UE4 afterwards, and then the lighting process, the most complex part, is carried out. Then I start adding Interactions and sound effects. The workflow is very versatile and as I work alone sometimes it gets tough and even overwhelming to take care of every part of the project. With this project I had a Virtual Reality type of experience in mind. I hope to develop more immersive user experiences to it by facilitating VR Glasses and tracking devices, in addition to adding more scenes that include new sets of paintings.

Re-creation of René Magritte's Paintings (Unreal Engine 4 DEMO)

                 

All images are copyright and courtesy of Ali Eslami.

 

Anna is a graduate of Moscow’s Photo Academy, with a previous background in intellectual property rights. In 2012 she founded the company Perspectiva Art, dealing in art consultancy, curatorship, and the coordination of exhibitions. During the bilateral year between Russia and The Netherlands in 2013, Perspectiva Art organized a tour for a Dutch artist across Russia, as well as putting together several exhibitions in the Netherlands, curated by Anna. Since October 2014, Anna has taken an active role the development and management of ArtDependence Magazine. Anna interviews curators and artists, in addition to reviewing books and events, and collaborating with museums and art fairs.

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Luc Tuymans, Flemish Village 1995.  Collection MuHKA, Antwerp

Luc Tuymans, Flemish Village 1995. Collection MuHKA, Antwerp

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