LEONARDO DA VINCI: ART & SCIENCE; THEN & NOW | Hong Kong, City University Exhibition Gallery

This vibrant, immersive, contemporary exhibition on Leonardo Da Vinci almost feels like a science fiction school lesson, with touchscreen information panels and rotating 3D renderings. Wondering what Da Vinci’s painting Madonna of the Rocks would look like in real life? No problem; just pick up the iPad outside an empty “holodeck” style room and walk around to explore.

In collaboration with the Pinacoteca and Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan, celebrating 500 years since the artist’s death, twelve original drawings by Da Vinci are on display, for the first time in Hong Kong. Due to the way these thin sheets of paper have been mounted and lit, they actually look more like prints than the originals they are. The exhibition’s technical wizardry almost outshines them, but it’s great to get up close and personal with Da Vinci’s paper and ink nonetheless.

But the heart of the exhibition feels like it lies in the fifth and final section: “New Media and Contemporary Artworks”, all of which are inspired by Da Vinci’s legacy. reconFIGURING the CAVE developed and redeveloped by a large team between 1997 and 2019. Viewers put on 3D glasses and stand before a blank, holodeck-like corner, manipulating a Vitruvian man on a touchscreen, as a whirl of ever-changing fractals and impossible shapes pop out at you.

It’s difficult to turn twelve little drawings into a fully fledged exhibition, but the interactive and educational quality is so good you’ll be amazed it’s free entry.

Check out the exhibition online. Until 15 December 2019.

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