Berlin/ Reno, July 5, 2023. Berlin-based design firm, Graft Brandlab announces that it has been chosen as the official design partner for the highly anticipated exhibition, "DEEP TIME: SEA DRAGONS OF NEVADA," at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, Nevada. The exhibition showcases rare, never-before-seen ichthyosaur fossils excavated from the deserts of the American West. It will include historic Nevada discoveries made by paleontologists of the early twentieth century, along with the latest finds of renowned German paleontologist Dr. Martin Sander, who has been working in Nevada’s Augusta Mountains for more than three decades. The exhibition is co-curated by Sander and Ann M. Wolfe, Chief Curator at the Nevada Museum of Art. Graft Brandlab, led by Prof. Nikolaus Hafermaas, will develop a multimedia exhibition concept that brings the ancient ichthyosaur fossils to life in a visually stunning and captivating presentation that blurs the boundaries between art, science, and design.

Back to the future: Multimedia experience reveals life of 250-million-year-old marine reptiles

Opening in August 2024, the exhibition delves into the world of marine reptiles known as ichthyosaurs which lived 250-million-years ago. These ancient sea creatures—historically nicknamed “sea dragons”—were predators in the Triassic Ocean, the vast body of water that surrounded the supercontinent known as Pangea. Considered the largest living animals to ever exist, the exhibition uncovers details of the ichthyosaur’s unique anatomy, feeding styles, habitat, and their eventual extinction. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a life-sized, sculpture of a pregnant ichthyosaur called “Annie,” (named after turn-of-the-century paleontologist and philanthropist Annie Alexander). The 32-meter 3D visualization, based on recent scientific data, employs spatial and sculptural design techniques to invite visitors to come face-to-face with the awe-inspiring creature. Augmented and virtual reality elements will further bridge the gap between the past and the present, inviting speculation about deep time, the future, and our evolving world.

Science is driven by beauty: Graft Brandlab stages natural science in a contemporary art context

Graft Brandlab's task is to artistically present these remarkable fossil discoveries, creating an exhibition that transcends the boundaries of traditional scientific displays. “Science is driven by beauty,” says paleontologist Martin Sander, so it makes sense that such an exhibition would be undertaken by an art museum.”

“The Nevada Museum of Art is home to the internationally recognized Center for Art + Environment and much of our program is committed to interdisciplinary investigation and blurring the boundaries between art, science, and design,” added Ann Wolfe.

Building upon their expertise in spatial design, Graft Brandlab's Managing Partner | Creation, Nik Hafermaas, will apply his artistic vision to the DEEP TIME exhibition. The award-winning artist Hafermaas, known for his previous work at the Nevada Museum of Art, embraces the fusion of art, architecture, science, and design and emphasizes that nature itself is a work of art. By placing scientific discoveries in an art context, the exhibition challenges visitors' perception of time and offers a fresh perspective on our place in the universe.

"Our ego, with its short life span of about 70 to 80 years and an average height of about 170 cm, is put into perspective when compared to the ichthyosaur lady Annie, who lived more than 250 million years ago. And looking to the future, where will technological development take us? It's a very exciting topic that spans the fields of paleontology, evolution, ecology, technology and culture," says Hafermaas.

Reno - the international art mecca in the Nevada desert

Founded in 1931, the “Nevada Museum of Art, Donald W. Reynolds Center for the Visual Arts, E. L. Wiegand Gallery” is the only art museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums in the state of Nevada. The Museum serves as the perfect backdrop for the DEEP TIME exhibition. Located in the Great Basin of the American West, the region attracts international visitors who flock to the Black Rock Desert to attend the annual Burning Man Festival. Nevada is also located within the matrix of major Land Art installations by Michael Heizer, Walter De Maria, Robert Smithson, Nancy Holt, and Ugo Rondinone.  In 2009, the museum established the Center for Art + Environment, an internationally recognized research center that supports the practice, study, and awareness of creative interactions between people and their natural, built, and virtual environments.

About Graft Brandlab

At the intersection of art, design and technology, Berlin-based innovation agency Graft Brandlab strives to make the intangible comprehensible, be it emotions, visions, past histories or future scenarios. Rico Zocher, Managing Partner | Business, and Prof. Nikolaus Hafermaas, Managing Partner | Creation, lead the agency founded in 2014 by Graft Architects. Graft Brandlab is characterized by its multidisciplinary approach, bringing together strategists, architects, artists, interior designers, graphic designers, marketing experts and software engineers. This allows the team of international talent to realize the full spectrum from the development of creative strategies to their manifestation in the real world in the form of multimedia branding, communications, architecture, interior design and mediatecture. Their clients include Montblanc, DKB, Volocopter, Coca-Cola, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Gebr. Heinemann, E.ON, Volkswagen and Zalando.

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