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The Wild Within

During the Soviet Union, the Georgian town of Tskaltubo was a popular health destination famed for its therapeutic water and luxurious sanatoriums.

Between the 1940’s to 1980’s thousands of people visited each year, including high-ranking officials from Moscow.

The town was renowned for its therapeutic radon-carbonate mineral spring water believed to treat an array of ailments.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, the buildings were deserted and fell into disrepair. Floors were ripped up for firewood, and the metal salvaged as scrap.

Since the early 90's, the buildings have been slowly dismantled and stripped of their valuable materials, leaving empty shells of what were once grandiose classical structures.

Koopmans visited this region over several years, exploring the ruins and photographing these spaces that have undergone dramatic transition.

In collaboration with Alice Wexell, upon returning they digitally introduced vegetation, manipulated the lighting, modified the structures, and animated the scenes with the intention of reviving the empty spaces, essentially bringing life back into the rooms.

 

With these pieces, Koopmans and Wexell aim to bring the viewer into an alternate place and time. 

 

The artwork has garnered global recognition, finding its place in exhibitions and collections around the world, including prominent digital art funds and private collectors.

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Devotion

The Wild Within: Devotion

Collected by Jim Carrey for 20 ETH

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Secrets

The Wild Within: Secrets

Collected by BrianNYC for 13 ETH

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The Wild Within: Elevate

Collected by Forever Lands for 14 ETH

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Elevate

The Wild Within: Visions

Collected by Noun 53 for 14 ETH

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Visions
Harvest

The Wild Within: Harvest

Collected by Bharat Krymo for 14 ETH

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Balance

The Wild Within: Balance

Collected by Aure Gimon for 14 ETH

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Eternity

The Wild Within: Eternity

Collected by 888

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Harmony

The Wild Within: Harmony

Collected by AOI for 16 ETH

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Departure

The Wild Within: Departure

Collected by AOI for 16 ETH

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Gathering

The Wild Within: Gathering

Collected by AOI for 16 ETH

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The Wild Within: Ambition

Collected by Cryptonio123 for 14 ETH

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Promises

The Wild Within: Promises

Collected by Cuerno Group for 10 ETH

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Ambition
Hollow

The Wild Within: Hollow

Collected by GBLSTS for 6 ETH

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Historical Overview

During the Soviet Union, the Georgian town of Tskaltubo was a popular health destination famed for its therapeutic water and luxurious sanatoriums.

Between the 1940’s to 1980’s thousands of people visited each year, including Stalin and his high-ranking officials from Moscow.

The town was renowned for its therapeutic radon-carbonate mineral spring water believed to treat an array of ailments.

Old-Tskaltubo-TheWildWithin-Website-2.jpg

When the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s, the buildings were deserted and began to fall into disrepair.

ryan-koopmans-siren-creatives-tskaltubo-georgia-photography-005b.jpg

In 1992 a war in the nearby region Abkhazia broke out.

Displaced Georgians fled from the conflict and were given temporary shelter in Tskaltubo's unoccupied buildings.

Thirty years later, certain families still inhabit these architectural ruins, enduring squalid conditions and limited amenities.

ryan-koopmans-tskaltubo-siren-georgia-ar

The Concept of Growth & Decay

Since the early 90's, the buildings have been slowly dismantled and stripped of their valuable materials, leaving empty shells of what were once grandiose classical structures.

 

Floors were ripped up for firewood, and the metal salvaged as scrap.

 

The architectural deconstruction and decay persist, while nature gradually engulfs these human-made structures.

Witnessing this natural resurgence inspired us to accentuate the concept, creatively incorporating animated foliage and light into the interior photographs that we captured.

This fusing of fact and fiction illuminated the dichotomies of nature/architecture, physical/digital, and growth/decay, and gave birth to the first artworks of The Wild Within.

Abandoned Soviet Sanatorium architecture buildings in Tskaltubo Georgia by photographer Ryan Koopmans

A fern emerges from the floor.

postcards-tskaltubo-thewildwithin.jpg

Soviet-era postcards found in the ruins.

International Exposure

Artworks from The Wild Within reside in esteemed private collections across the globe and have graced various galleries and platforms through exhibitions and editorial features.

Exhibitions

​2024 - Paris, France - Metaversal x Lumen Prize, The Future of Art

​2024 - Paris, France - SuperRare Showcase at IHAM Gallery

2024 - Reggio Emilia, Italy - Cabinets of Ether

2023 - Miami, USA - Faena Forum at Art Basel Miami Beach presented by Christie's New York

 

2023 - Dubai, UAE - Christie's Art Auction House and Exhibition Space

2023 - Dubai, UAE - Luxeverse at Museum of The Future​

2023 - Zug, Switzerland - Spice Journeys Exhibition at Unpaired Gallery

2023 - Istanbul, Turkey - NFTIST Digital Art Exhibition at Planeth

2023 - New Delhi, India - MASH Gala with BENNFT Gallery

2023 - Barcelona, Spain - Lezar House Group Exhibition

2023 - Amsterdam, The Netherlands - MET Amsterdam Exhibition at Westergasfabriek

2023 - Los Angeles, USA - Outliers Exhibition at Foundry Gallery by PROOF

2023 - Mumbai, India - Architectural Digest Design Show with BENNFT Gallery

2023 - Seoul, South Korea - Billboard Exhibition with Art Innovation Gallery during Frieze Art Fair

2023  - Seoul, South Korea - Beyond Seoul Exhibition by Trippy Labs with Korea Blockchain Week

2023 - Austin TX, USA - Group Exhibition at Permissionless II Summit

2023 - Boston MA, USA - Pellas Gallery at Boston Blockchain Week

2023 - Stockholm, Sweden - Way Gallery at Epicenter Stockholm

 

2023 - Tokyo, Japan - Reach For The Future Exhibition

2023 - Cannes, France - Jane Goodall Institute Auction at Cannes Film Festival 

 

2023 - NYC, USA - SuperRare Event at South Street Seaport

2023 - NYC, USA - Unfold x SHILLR exhibition

2023 - NYC, USA - Transient Labs Outliers at Oculus World Trade Center

2023 - NYC, USA - Crypt Gallery x Dream Downtown

 

2023 - Paris, France - Natively Digital at Sotheby's France

2023 - Boston, USA - Steve Aoki Hiroquest Tour

2022 - Miami, USA - Monolith at SCOPE Miami Art Week

2022 - Miami, USA - Floating Pixels at Miami Art Week

2022 - Miami, USA - Unfold x SHILLR exhibition at Miami Art Week

2022 - Montreal, Canada - SuperRare & 0x Society - The Wild Within

2022 - Prague, Czech Republic - NFCastle at House of Lobkowicz

2022 - Los Angeles, USA - ‘Frame of Mind, State of Time, Life Online’

 

2022 - Beijing, China - Yongle Auction Spring 2022

2022 - NYC, USA - MODA presents A Question For Time exhibition

2022 - NYC, USA - SuperRare Gallery x Jonathan Little exhibition

2022 - NYC, USA - Ben Skaar Curation at the South Street Seaport

2022 - NYC, USA - Time Square Showcase by NFT NYC

2022 - NYC, USA - The Pyramid Screen by NFTSea

2022 - Venice, Italy - Decentral Art Pavilion

2022 - NYC, USA - Crypt Gallery x Dream Downtown

2022 - Miami, USA - Blackdove Gallery at BTC Miami

2022 - Liverpool, UK - NFT Liverpool

2022 - Stockholm, Sweden - Way Gallery

2022 - New York, USA - SuperRare Monolith

2022 - Stockholm, Sweden - OtherLands NFT Festival

2021 - Montreal, Canada - 0x Society

2021 - Calgary, Canada - Photoville 'The Fence'

2021 - Tokyo, Japan - NEO Shibuya Screen

2021 - Miami, USA  - SuperRare Monolith

2021 - Miami, USA - The Temporal Gallery at Flagler Street

2021 - Miami, USA - MoDa The Wall at Factory Town

2021 - Dubai, UAE - WOW Summit

Selected Press
 

Bitcoin Magazine - An Interview Regarding 'The Origin' Inscription Artwork

WePresent by WeTransfer - The Duo Digitally Reviving Abandoned Buildings


Design Boom - The Enchanted Hour: A Hypnotic Cuckoo Clock

Department of Cultural & Environmental Heritage at the University of Milan

Visual Atelier 8 - The Enchanted Hour: A Mesmerizing Artwork Merging Time & Imagination

The Inspiration Grid - The Enchanted Hour: A digital artwork that interacts with the time of day

NFT NOW - ‘The Enchanted Hour’: Architectural Marvel Captured Onchain

SuperRare Magazine - Curated Conversations: Botto collaborated with Ryan Koopmans

HypeMoon by HypeBeast - 'Sanctuary' - Immersive Artwork

 

Visual Atelier 8 - 'Sanctuary' - A Meditative Digital Artwork
 

I See You Gallery - Interview with Ryan Koopmans

Condé Nast Traveler - Deserted Soviet Town Is Attracting New Visitors Through Art

Artnet - Venice Biennale

Tabi Labo - Garden Of The Gods

Yahoo News - Nature Reclaims

New York Post - Jim Carrey Buys NFT

0x Society - Interview with Ryan Koopmans

Visual Atelier 8 - Surreal Architectural Realms By Ryan Koopmans

Fast Company - These Abandoned Soviet Buildings Got A Hauntingly Gorgeous Makeover

Design Boom - Abandoned Soviet Architecture Digitally Revived With Dancing Flowers

SuperRare Editorial 2021 - The Wild Within


Architectural Digest - Photographer Spent Five Years Capturing Abandoned Soviet-Era Spas

Calvert Journal - Home From Home

CNN - The Abandoned Soviet-era Spas A Community Of Refugees Calls Home

GQ Magazine - Inside The City That Time Forgot

WIRED - The Abandoned Soviet Spas Inhabited by Georgian Refugees

Creative Boom - Decaying Spas of the USSR

SuperRare Editorial 2022 - The Power Of Nature Compels You

 

Podcasts & Audio Interviews

The Future of Art w/ Roger Dickerman: Architecture, Nature & Long Term Vantage Point

PROMPT3D hosted by SHILLR: Conversation with Ryan Koopmans

NorCal and Shill Season 1 Episode 92: The Wild Within

Botto Talks: From Curation to Collab: Ryan Koopmans & Alice Wexell
 

Scrapbook - Episode 4: A Conversation with Ryan Koopmans

PROOF Grails Season 3: Interview with Ryan Koopmans

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