Mat Collishaw is restaging one of the world's first major exhibitions of photography for his forthcoming exhibition, Thresholds. The artist has created a virtual reality artwork that will reference the world-changing innovations of early photography and provide a window into parts of our cultural heritage that can no longer be accessed.

Mat-Collishaw-Thresholds-at-the-Somerset-House-London

To recreate the 1839 exhibition, the artist has collaborated with a host of experts including VR specialists, architectural historians and world experts on photography to produce an experience that delivers multiple levels of reality. Through both a VR engine and an actual room with tangible objects, the physical experience will be seamlessly synchronised with what is seen in the VR headsets. The result is that visitors will be able to walk freely and untethered around the exhibit, with the ability to actually touch displays and even feel other sensations such as heat from a fireplace.

Collishaw said of the exhibition, ‘I have been looking to work with virtual reality for a number of years and it has now become a feasible medium for me to use in an artwork. VR’s ability to enable visitors to revisit the birth of photography – a medium that has come to saturate our lives – is uncanny and compelling. It’s also quite appropriate as VR is the total 360-degree immersion of a subject within an image, and is itself one of the many innovations spawned by the invention of photography.’

THRESHOLDS opens at Photo London on 18 May and will be on view at Somerset House until 11 June 2017.