Thiago Martins de Melo, "Anunciação (Amazonia Mega Drive)", 2022. Photo: Courtesy Tropix

It was impossible to pass by the innovative stand tropix na SP-Art and not stopping for a moment to find out about the news or simply exclaiming to yourself “ah, so this is the NFT thing!”. Those who visited the fair from April 6th to 10th saw the platform's stand full at all times, with several curious people, whether for the basics of how the NFT works or for the launches of works that were brought. Other spaces, such as the Kogan Amaro Gallery and that of Blombô+Aura, also had their eyes turned in a special way to technology.

Gustavo Von Ha, “Automatic Writing”, 2022. Photo: Courtesy Tropix

A tropix is featured in this “new market”, as it emerged less than a year ago essentially as an NFT-certified digital art marketplace, but ended up becoming a platform beyond that. She has been a spokesperson for the new technology in Brazil and has connected the players in the art world with each other: the artist, the gallery owner, the collector, the fair and even institutions. After all, the platform was responsible for donating the work von Britney, by Gustavo von Ha, last month, for MAC-USP, which became the first Brazilian museum to have a work in NFT in its collection.

The initiative, which came from a team led by businessman Daniel Peres Chor, was reinforced in February this year, with the entry of Fabio Schwarcwald (who was director of MAM Rio and the Parque Lage School of Visual Arts). he tells the arte!brasileiros who have been following this market since 2021, curious about this new moment, which came with cryptocurrencies and then with NFT contracts. Cryptocurrencies, by the way, have been a reality in the art market for a long time, many galleries and artists already accepted payments in cryptocurrencies for physical works even before crypto art emerged.

“The production of computer art has been going on for over 30 years. This thing about the artist producing works of art using the computer as a brush has been around for a long time. We have Bill Viola and Janet Cardiff as an example”, comments Szwarcwald. The problem before, he explains, is that the storage technology for this type of production became obsolete very quickly, which could make the works ephemeral. The smart digital contract recorded on the blockchain, which is the NFT, makes this no longer a problem, as the work will forever be in the collector's digital wallet.

At SP-Arte, Tropix worked with 12 galleries, 20 artists and 35 works, in a booth curated by Marcio Harum. “It was very cool and very serious the work done by our curator, in which he brings the most renowned artists together with artists who have been working for less time with this technology. We had names like Gretta Sarfaty, whose work was considered one of the best at the fair, and younger ones, like PV Dias”, Fabio points out. One of the stand's major events was the launch of the work Annunciation (Amazon Mega Drive), by Thiago Martins de Melo, displayed in 3D as a hologram, showing that digital works are not just for television.

Unlike other platforms, Tropix focuses on working with major galleries in Brazil and abroad. Among the partners are names such as Jaqueline Martins, Verve, Leme, Millan and Zipper. “We understand that galleries already have curatorial work to select artists and help them a lot in this strategy of entering this computer art market. But we also understand that there are many professionals who do not have a gallery and who do very interesting work”, explains Szwarcwald. The artist sends his project to Tropix, which undergoes an evaluation by the platform's curatorial team. Fabio adds that this inclusion of independent artists also comes from the fact that whoever produces digital/computer art was not an artist that the galleries were so interested in before, but that with the NFT technology, which makes everything safer and more transparent, this interest was emerging.

Some renowned galleries even created their own digital art gallery. It is the case of Rudder, with Leme NFT, and the Kogan Amaro, with Kogan Amaro Digital Gallery. The first uses the Tropix platform as a marketplace. The second uses the Foundation platform to promote its sales. The director of Kogan Amaro, Ricardo Rinaldi, says that the team has been following this new market with enthusiasm and that the digital art gallery project had been structured since last year.

The first release of work in NFT made by Kogan Amaro was in partnership with Tropix, with an animation in stop motion made by Mundano. The work is part of the exhibition that the artist held at the gallery earlier this year, entitled World Art Week. Now, using another sales platform, the gallery had a space dedicated to works in NFTs at SP-Arte.

In a hybrid stand, with physical and digital works, the gallery set up a large vertical LED panel to display the works in NFTs. Kogan Amaro works with artists who already made only digital works, but has also encouraged its represented artists to produce works in NFTs, such as Daniel Mullen, Fernanda Figueiredo, the duo Tangerina Bruno and Mundano himself. Rinaldi also says that they have helped collectors to enter this new market, helping them to build their own digital wallet, for example. The gallery has also created a system to accept cash payment for these works, not just in cryptocurrencies.

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Szwarcwald announced that Tropix is ​​working on a system – which will be consolidated into an application – to certify physical works also in NFT, called OffPix: “The idea is to offer this to gallery owners as a way for us to be able to create all this certification via blockchain, with an NFT contract, bringing much greater security to the market in general”. In addition to works of art on all media, other things that have signatures and certificates, such as furniture, can be certified. This certification will guarantee greater security in the negotiation of works, in addition to greater transparency.

Other sectors that use NFTs, such as gaming, have invested heavily in the metaverse idea, even taking stores and concerts into their virtual “worlds” that simulate reality using tools such as virtual reality. Tropix has also planned to open a gallery in the metaverse, with the intention of expanding the range of collectors, being able to attract even younger potential collectors, from a generation that is already digitally connected in their daily lives: “We see the metaverse as an opportunity that is opening up, very important for people to start having a new relationship with technology and also with other people”. Fabio points out that even performing performances is possible in this other environment.

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