NFT: Sotheby’s $5m Anadol sale, Christie’s debuts in Europe

By Raffaele Redi

Sotheby’s sets a new record for the most valuable NFT collection by a single artist in Asia

Machine Hallucinations by Refik Anadol                                 
Refik Anadol”s Machine Hallucinations, 2019 – Photo: Digital Art Fair Asia and Refik Anadol

Sotheby’s has set a new record for the most valuable NFT collection by a single artist sold in Asia, as Refik Anadol's digital artwork Machine Hallucinations – Space: Metaverse was sold for HKD18.3m ($2.25m).

The whole collection, a first-of-its-kind fine art NFT by the world’s leading digital artist Refik Anadol that is featured as an immersive physical experience at Digital Art Fair Asia (DAFA) Hong Kong, was sold for HKD39.39m or around $5m at Sotheby’s online auction as a metaverse NFT collection, including eight unique artworks.

“This is just the beginning. Sotheby’s will continue to innovate and explore various art forms, all while pushing the boundaries,” said Max Moore, who is head of contemporary art (Asia) and co-head of digital art sales at Sotheby’s.

"This sale marks a new era for the art market, with a generation of art collectors worldwide who are eager to own this new form of revolutionary bespoke art, both as a showpiece in their home and as a fantastic addition to their portfolio. I believe this project paves the way for our future collectors and collaborators of what digital art can be,” Moore continued.

“Refik truly captures the imagination of how an NFT can transverse the physical to the metaverse – he pushes the boundaries of digital art by presenting data in such a poetic way that can be bridged into a physical experience and enjoyed by all at the Digital Art Fair exhibition in Hong Kong,” he concluded.

Anadol “still in shock”

The media artist is said to be “still in shock” after the sale. As part of the terms of the sale, he will meet collectors. The artworks are in fact going to be shipped by the artist himself, while the artist’s studio will assist buyers with installation instructions and oversight.

“The NFT collection sold for $5.1m! I’m still in shock and deeply grateful to Max Moore and Sotheby’s for the amazing experience! Cannot wait to meet with the newest collectors of Machine Hallucinations!”, he tweeted.

“Refik Anadol is one of the most successful NFT artists in the world defining contemporary art in the digital age,” said Jehan Chu, who is the founder of Kenetic Capital and Vermillion Capital, and a blockchain investor and art collector based in Hong Kong. "The Machine Hallucinations immersive room NFT is not only a sublime sensorial experience, it is a milestone in the history of NFT.

"Refik’s work will sit alongside NFTs by Andy Warhol, Urs Fischer, and Beeple, and I am proud to not only help make it available to the public in the future, and serve as its guardian for future generations," added Jehan.

The collection was created using over two million raw images captured and recorded by the International Space Station and the Hubble and MRO telescopes, providing a vast dataset with which to train a generative adversarial network.

First NFT offered by Christie’s in Europe

Elsewhere, Christie’s announced that it is ready to offer its first NFT in Europe, a Bored Ape. However, no estimate has so far been given as to what kind of price it might realise.

“Christie’s will offer an exceptional, clean red laser beams Bored Ape along with its corresponding M1 and M2 Mutants as a group lot in the Evening Sale, the first time that Christie’s will offer an NFT in Europe,” said the British auction house.

The NFT from the Bored Apes collection is going to be part of Christie’s 20th/21st Century: Evening Sale. Coinciding with Frieze Week, the sale brings together iconic works by artists from the 20th century whose defining influence can be seen on the artists and artistic movements that followed in the 21st. 

The collection will include Banksy’s Girl With Balloon (2005). The famous mural's vision of innocence and hope is estimated to be worth between £2.5m and £3.5m (around $3.5m and $4.7m).

Further reading: Sotheby’s scouts the NFT metaverse as Christie’s debuts in ETH

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