International art group Instigators is launching its inaugural NFT art project to explore how artworks can move from traditional galleries into the world of blockchain technology.
Exported from a Museum turns brightly-coloured, nature-themed collages from Russian artist Nikolai Koshelev, recently exhibited at Moscow’s State Tretyakov gallery, into NFTs.
“This is the first attempt of its kind, whereby we can track the path of an artwork from the hall of a museum into the cryptoworld — and in doing so, putting the issue of copies and originals at the heart of our discussion,” Koshelev says.
“Where does a work actually exist: in a museum or in the code of its digital version, backed up by a synthetic contract?” asks Denis Davydov, founder of Instigators, which specialises in the creation of projects in the sphere of contemporary art and blockchain. “Who is a contemporary artist today, if he’s split between evermore new spaces? What does the portrait of a new collector look like, if today’s works are freely circulated in their crypto-versions?
Instigators will hold an auction of four NFT tokens emitted on the Rarible platform on 16 April, using the Ethereum blockchain.
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, use the technology behind cryptocurrencies — blockchain — to create a signature that is unique to a certain digital artwork. Once an NFT has been added to an image, GIF, or video, it can’t be removed or changed, allowing digital art to be bought, sold, collected — and most importantly, authenticated — just like fine art.
Users can transfer NFTs from one crypto-wallet to another, like a digital currency. The right to own a specific NFT is confirmed in the blockchain network, with the information being publicly available. Yet while NFT-artworks have been sold for millions of dollars in recent months, the technology is not free from criticism — both in terms of security, and its high environmental costs.