Thursday, June 23, 2016

Venice – Arsenale – Victoria and Albert Museum – La Biennale di Venezia - A World of Fragile Parts - Applied Arts Pavilion

Applied Arts Pavilion - A World of Fragile Parts
Victoria and Albert Museum – La Biennale di Venezia  
Special Project
Curator: Brendan Cormier (Victoria and Albert Museum)
 Curator’s Team: Danielle Thom, research (VandA) – Charlotte Churchill, Project Manager (VandA) - Michael Brenner, graphic designer - La Biennale di Venezia - Ordinary Architecture, Exhibition Design.

“The increasing accessibility of 3D scanning and printing couldn’t be timelier in the context of cultural preservation, as the threat of destruction and damage of our global material heritage rises. ‘A World of Fragile Parts’ poses questions related to the legitimacy, ownership and significance of copies while highlighting their preservation value as they allow for physical, but also for cultural, emotional and political survival.”
Curator - Brendan Cormier

Presented by La Biennale di Venezia and the Victoria and Albert Museum, A World of Fragile Parts looks at the threats faced by global heritage sites and how the production of copies can aid in the preservation of cultural artifacts. Climate change, natural disasters, urbanization, mass tourism and neglect, as well as recent violent attacks have brought the risks faced by many heritage sites and cultural artifacts into public conversation. Artists, activists and educational institutions are beginning to respond to the urgent need to preserve; by exploring opportunities provided by digital scanning and new fabrication technologies. Several key questions emerge: What do we copy and how? What is the relationship between the copy and the original in a society that values authenticity? And how can such an effort be properly coordinated at a truly global and inclusive scale?
Above. Re-Materialization of Pauline Bonaparte as Venus Victrix – ‘The Borghese Venus’ – glass, wax and resin – Factum Arte with Giberto Arrivabene – 2016 – after – marble original by Antonio Canova – 1805-1808.   Antonio Canova’s controversial nude statue of Pauline Bonaparte, Princess Borghese, is reproduced here in glass.  A 3D scan was taken of the original marble in the Galleria Borghese in Rome, from which an initial model was printed using stereolithography.  This model was then cast in wax to create a positive from which a glass version could be cast.  Although completely transforming the material and the scale, the form stays true to the original.


A World of Fragile Parts – Bust and Mould of an Unknown Woman
Plaster cast – anonymous – c.1889
An original marble by Francesco Laurana – c.1470
Numerous works of art and architecture only survive through copies.  This bust is cast from a Renaissance artwork once held in the Bode Museum, Berlin.  The original was smashed in half when the museum was bombed in 1945.  Shown alongside it, is the mould from which the cast was made, and which was formed from the original before destruction.

A World of Fragile Parts – The Other Nefertiti
Nora Al-Badri and Jan Nikolai Nelles – 2015

A century ago, the Nefertiti bust was excavated in Egypt and displaced to Germany.  Since its public unveiling in Berlin in 1924, Egyptian authorities have demanded its return.  Currently at the Neues Museum, a detail digital scan has been created but not made publicly available.  In reaction, artists Nora Al-Badri and Jan Nikolai Nelles staged an ethical art heist known as #NefertitiHack, whereby they secretly scanned the bust using a Kinect Xbox controller.  A digital file of the bust has since been freely released as a torrent under public domain.  The artists exhibited the precise 3D print in Egypt for the first time.

A World of Fragile Parts - The Knole Table

Franchi and Son - 1868
Electroformed copper and electroplated silver on wood
A silver and wood original by Gerrit Jensen – c.1680
This extravagant table is an electrotype; a precis copy of the original, accomplish through cutting-edge nineteenth-century technology.
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