‘Euphoria’: A Surreal Journey Through Time and Space

The Story Behind Ryan Koopmans and Alice Wexell’s ‘Euphoria’

Artists Ryan Koopmans and Alice Wexell travelled around the world for several years, exploring and photographing forsaken buildings and unique architectural sites. They were drawn to these locations based on their historical, cultural, and architectural qualities.

The results are The Wild Within’, a series of digital artworks that convey a compelling narrative about the cycle of time, the resurgence of nature, and the socio-historical nuances of architectural landscapes. The artwork aims to revive these vacant spaces, essentially bringing life back into the buildings.

'Euphoria': A Surreal Journey Through Time and Space

Sotheby’s in Paris, France, has announced that it will be auctioning and exhibiting a piece from the series titled ‘Euphoria’, marking a milestone moment for the artists. Since the actor Jim Carrey collected their work in 2022, the demand amongst collectors to acquire a piece from The Wild Within and to exhibit the work has skyrocketed.

Similar to the rest of the series, this new artwork ‘Euphoria’ is a collision of the past and future, as well as the physical and digital worlds. The piece brings an abandoned historic building back to life by combining photography and animation to create a surreal, meditative, moving architectural space.

'Euphoria': A Surreal Journey Through Time and Space

Other locations in ‘The Wild Within’ include ancient temples in the mountains of Armenia, abandoned sanatoriums in Georgia, ruined villas in the Middle East and beyond. Once the architecture is photographed, the images are modelled into virtual environments, and overgrown plant-life is added digitally.

Lighting and structure are then modified, an original musical composition by Swedish composer Karl-David Larson is created, and the static picture is transformed into a moving image that loops seamlessly. The architecture featured in ‘Euphoria’ is situated within an interesting context, marked by a unique backstory. The real-life structure is situated in Tskaltubo, a small Georgian town that was once a popular health destination during the Soviet Union.

'Euphoria': A Surreal Journey Through Time and Space

Thousands of people visited the town’s sanatoriums annually from the 1940s to 1990s. After the USSR collapsed, the buildings were abandoned and fell into disrepair. Since the early 1990s, the Sanatoriums have been slowly dismantled and stripped of their valuable materials, leaving empty shells of what were once grandiose classical structures. This abandoned ballroom in the Shaxtiori Sanatorium, constructed 1951 in Socialist Classicism style, proved to be the perfect environment for the artists to apply their creative touch for ‘Euphoria’.

The building continues to deteriorate and is being slowly disassembled, further emphasizing the primary theme of the work, the passing of time in a cycle of growth and decay. Through these artworks, the artists aim to transport the viewer into an alternate place and time. This fusing of documentary-style photography with the imaginative potential of animation techniques results in a captivating looping digital artwork.

The auction for ‘Euphoria’ at Sotheby’s will take place from March 17th to March 24th, 2023. Additionally, an exhibition in conjunction with the sale will be open in Paris at Sotheby’s France from March 18th to March 23rd, 2023.

'Euphoria': A Surreal Journey Through Time and Space

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