This may not have been the future he envisioned, but it’s the future for which he is eminently equipped. In a Radio Juxtapoz podcast and subsequent feature in our Summer 2020 Quarterly, Argentinian-born, Spanish-based artist Felipe Pantone sounded exhilarated about the potential of the future, how art and technology could grow in partnership, resulting in a plethora of experimental projects. It is doubtful he was thinking about being forced to show his works solely in a virtual setting, but Pantone is one of the most adept contemporary artists in creating interactive, visually stunning works that shine in both digital realm and physical spaces.

Contactless is the newest exhibition (and website) by Felipe Pantone, on view at albertz benda in New York City from July 16th through August 28th, 2020. Of course,as we are currently living in a distanced world, he and the gallery noted that “many of the works that Pantone created for Contactless were intended for the viewer to touch and reshape by hand.” Instead, the artist and benda have created a special viewing site where the artist has developed digital copies of the works on a WebGL app, which in turn,  allows viewers of the show to access 3D animations on their phones and desktops, another example of how Pantone is redefining the boundaries of an art experience. 

“These days, we spend a lot of time behind our screens, I believe in finding new ways of digitizing the physical world as it is experienced through our devices,” Pantone explained. “Why rely only on photography or video when there are new technologies available that can take us closer to the real experience? We're working with the cutting edge of web technology. These aren't mock-ups or 3D renders, but a way of faithfully experiencing how the artworks will function in real life through our mobile devices.”

In the Contactless setting, users can move the sculptures on their browsers just as their hands or zoom and angle works in order to view the light refractions as if walking into the gallery itself and moving around the sculptural paintings, all more than duplicating the art encounter. It’s  exciting, unexpected, but perhaps a positive change in how we view art.  I think the future is bringing some things we can't even imagine,” Pantone told us in February of this year, “and honestly, it's going so fast that we're going to see everything.” Who knew the first major step would arrive so soon? —Evan Pricco