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Art the Throne: An Immersive Game of Thrones Experience

Artists CYRCLE, Tristan Eaton, Jeff Nishinaka, Marcos Chin, and Pop Chart Lab reimagine iconic characters

by David Graver
on 21 April 2016

If one thing can be said of Game of Thrones fans, it's that there is a near insatiable desire to enter the universe in as many ways as possible. While we all wait for the Season 6 premiere this Sunday—and coax George RR Martin forward on the latest book—HBO took it upon themselves to offer a new Game of Thrones experience. Teaming up with the cultural purveyors at Mass Appeal, HBO unleashed an immersive, one-night-only exhibition dubbed Art the Throne at NYC's Angel Orensanz Center. Within the already gothic facility, one found five artists interpreting the TV series with the essence of ice and fire.

In a way, the exhibition featured a series of centerpieces. Art collective Pop Chart Lab created a magnificent "Red Wedding Illuminated Manuscript" that stood 12 feet tall and with a glowing, blood red magnificence. It stood where a king would stand and represented (arguably) the show's most disturbing sequence. At the center of the room itself, however, rose LA duo CYRCLE's "Overthrone Crown." From the outside, the mirrored crown reflected the swirling experiences of the event and those shifting in the dim lights. When standing inside of it, the wooden walls bore key words from "War" to "Wall" and beyond. On a smaller scale, there was a replica of Prince Joffrey's crown on display, and that alone was wondrous and transportive.

A dynamic artwork, "Brienne of Tarth Animated Illustration" by Marcos Chin, captivated passersby through motion. "This piece was originally an ink drawing done on a large sheet of paper, obviously super patterned and very ornamental," Chin explains to CH. "I sent the drawings in layers to an animator who turned it into what you're seeing now. A moving piece with a different type of life—all of which is projected." Chin chose Brienne of Tarth because he feels a sense of identification with the character. "She is someone who is a blend of two different things: masculine, feminine; darkness and light. She is obviously a woman but she fulfills a very unconventional role." Chin did not draw her face on purpose. He was tired about female roles being defined by beauty. He drew her hair and felt everything else he would convey was in her power.

Another wonder, Jeff Nishinaka's large scale "White Walker Paper Sculpture" depicts one of the most impactful scenes from recent memory—wherein, the Night's King raises up all of the dead wildlings into his own army. As Nishinaka says, "I think this particular scene was one of the most emotionally charged scenes if not from the season, than the whole show." Nishinaka has been sculpting paper for 30 years now to create highly nuanced installations and murals. The combined force of the medium and moment made it a popular destination for all in attendance.

Rounding out the works, Brooklyn's Tristan Eaton contributed a series of Daenerys Targaryen portraits. Within each variation, he captures the Khaleesi's beauty, but also populates each painting with elements of her powerful story. His colors pop and his subject shines. Altogether, it's an exhibition one wishes would continue to run (or tour).

Lead image courtesy of HBO®, all other images by David Graver

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