Lot Essay Olive’s NFT artwork First Day In The Metaverse depicts her recurring character, the UnBearable, who first appeared a year and a half ago as a symbol of climate change and other unbearable issues we face as a society. Here, the UnBearable is a baby-like creature, slightly awkward yet determined to explore the new world in which it finds itself — the Metaverse. This piece pays tribute to the journey of personal growth closely intertwined with the formation of the NFT space. It is about the readiness to expand and move beyond the conventional reality.
The NFT artwork comes with a physical sculpture and explores the concept of simultaneous existence in different realms. This 3D character is a genesis Metaverse UnBearable. A total of five characters (NFT + physical sculpture) will be released in this series.
New York-based multidisciplinary artist Olive Allen draws on her background in both fine arts and technology to create art that captures the internet culture of the new age and exposes systems of value. She is a cryptocurrency early adopter and is considered one of the pioneers of the NFT space.
Olive uses token-based digital works to offer a critical yet playful view on hype, the attention economy and cultural mores. Through bright, colorful digital artworks composed of pop-cultural and nostalgic elements, Allen grabs attention and redirects it to today’s urgent issues. Just like artists she admires, Takashi Murakami and Joyce Pensato, who deconstruct existing culturally significant characters and icons as well as invent their own, Olive creates character series, such as The UnBearables, HYPEBIRDS and The Sheeplezzz. These pieces engage viewers in conceptual collecting gameplay with rules, statistics and deft societal critique.
Olive believes the work produced and released should be of the now. The relevance and relatable symbolism of her artworks serve the attention economy well, but Allen embeds deeper meanings within her pieces that can be missed in the scroll. Therein lies the tension of the work: vying for attention in a like-based economy while simultaneously seeking depth and connection. The wry, sardonic rules around the works are a kind of performance by Olive, perhaps even a taunt. By setting up systems of engagement around her work, she compels her collectors and viewers to interact with her performance, participate in its meaning and make decisions about their own values.
The artist has exhibited with König Galerie, Berlin; Postmasters, New York; Nagel Draxler Gallery, Cologne; and Save Art Space, London, among others.