Lawrence Lek’s Unreal Estate (The Royal Academy Is Yours) is a speculative first-person simulation taking place within a 3D animated virtual environment in which London’s Royal Academy of Arts has been sold off as a luxury playboy mansion to an anonymous Chinese billionaire. Passing corporate flags, brightly coloured sports cars and a palm-tree-encircled water feature in the entrance with a stainless steel Jeff Koons bunny at its centre, the video leads the prospective owner on a virtual tour through this academic building turned grandiose home. The work is accompanied by an instructive Chinese voiceover on how one might hire and fire the assembled staff. Lek has captured a version of the virtual tour exclusively for Sedition.
Unreal Estate was first shown at the Royal Academy itself in 2015, where this uncanny take on an alternative reality is pitched as a gift for all those seeking to subvert institutional establishments of their longstanding authority. For the work, Lek has won the Dazed Emerging Artist Award at the Royal Academy, and the ICA Tenderflix Artist Video Award 2015.