‘Life is Beautiful. Always.’ – VR installation in Sheffield results from collaborative work between painter Marcel Schreur and SHU’s Dominic Green & Danny Bacchus

Image of 'Life is Beautiful. Always.' VR installation. Couresy of Dominic Green

A groundbreaking VR and Art installation at Access Space Sheffield

Access Space Sheffield, the digital technology art gallery, hosts an exciting new VR based artwork this month. Access have taken a former city centre retail space on Fitzalan Square and turned it into a gallery space which is to become an interactive VR exhibition at the end of this month. The exhibition is called Life is Beautiful. Always. and is an exploration into a unique life experience.

Life is beautiful. Always.
Access Space – Grace Unit, Fitazalan Square, Sheffield S1 2AY
12PM – 6.30PM daily, with opening reception at 6.30PM on Friday 29 June
Entrance free. You can watch a trailer of the VR work here. More info can be found here and here.

Dutch born painter Marcel Schreur, a 30 year oral cancer and 7 year vascular dementia survivor, is a self-taught painter whose art emerged from a period in which he made an unprecedented recovery from the most serious symptoms of vascular dementia. Since then he has exhibited globally, in the Kyoto Museum of Modern Art, Japan; at the U.N. Global Forum for Migration and Development in Istanbul; a global art exhibition in the Chianciano Museum of Modern Art, Italy; at The London Art Biennale and the Vatican.

Image of Marcel Schreur.

Whilst he still lives every day with the impact of the two occurrences of tongue cancer,  the large dose of radiation originally caused the vascular damage and the effects of the resulting dementia, he continues to be an incredibly prolific artist working in a wide range of media.

Life is Beautiful. Always. is a virtual reality (VR) experience created as part of an ongoing collaboration between Schreur and two artists on the Sheffield Hallam University academic team: longstanding collaborator and friend, film maker Dominic Green and Danny Bacchus. Danny is a visual art practitioner skilled in the use of cutting edge technologies and digital art platforms, currently completing a PhD exploring these technologies and the effect that they have on the participant from the point of view of the artist.

The exhibition will consist of a range of Schreur’s most personal biographical paintings, made at a time when he expected that they would form a document of his for his children since he did not expect to live. The appearance of the gallery exhibition resembles the space which is explored by the VR experience at the centre of the gallery. This is experienced by viewers wearing a VR headset, who are given an insight into the experiences that Schreur contends with every day.

Series 'Trust' – "My Mind is All Over" – 72x24 inch – Oil on canvas - Marcel Schreur

Series ‘Trust’ – “My Mind is All Over” – 72×24 inch – Oil on canvas – Marcel Schreur

“The intention of the work is to help facilitate communication about the experience of living with life-altering disability between sufferers, carers and medical professionals.” says the artist.

This will be the first exhibition of the work to the public. The exhibition opens on 28 June and continues until 01 July at Access’s Grace Unit, Fitzalan Square, Sheffield, S1 2AY.

Dominic Green is a lecturer in Cinematography at Sheffield Hallam University.

Danny Bacchus is a senior lecturer and course leader in Digital Media Production at Sheffield Hallam University.