Supporting museums at the time when they are closed to visitors, Vividly, a virtual reality technologies start-up, has digitized part of Skuja Braden solo exhibition Samsara at the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design.
The Skuja Braden solo exhibition Samsara at the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design has not had a chance to meet its visitors yet, as the work on setting it up finished only a day before the state of emergency in the country was declared. The museum exhibition hall presently holds more than two hundred of Skuja Braden porcelain works of art, and the internationally recognized artist duo consider it to be their most important solo exhibition so far. Skuja Braden exhibitions are always an occasion, and the style of their objects is original and cannot be likened to any other. The unique technique of the authors sets new boundaries for ceramic and porcelain art, as evidenced by the works selected for this event.
Using photogrammetry as a method for 3D spatial modelling, five sculptures of Ilga's Altar were selected to be digitized in 3D and showcased here. Thus, digital technologies have made it possible to explore the sculptures from every angle, examine them in detail and get a realistic feel of them, more close-up than normal exhibition conditions would allow.
The home of the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design is a Medieval building that dates back to the 13th century, originally built as St. George's Church. The central part of the exhibition hall, once the actual altar part of the church, hosts Skuja Braden Ilga's Altar created in Buddhist tradition. Ingūna Skuja and Melissa Braden both practise the popular Mahyana tradition of Buddhism, according to which it is the woman who is in charge of creating and maintaining the family altar. The altar is intended for both religious rituals and the commemoration of ancestral spirits. The artists believe that the altar they have created is another interpretation of human existence and a reminder of the fundamental notions in every individual's life, such as honour, compassion, gratitude and love.
The Monarch – a vase in the shape of a young woman's head
Usually there would be five ritual figurines placed in the central part of a Buddhist altar. Skuja Braden abide by this convention. The central part of their altar is given to the main spiritual leader – The Monarch, a vase in the shape of a young woman's head.
By its side there are figurines of two seated ladies-in-waiting, – the Red and the Blue. Graceful and serene, they accompany the central figure of The Monarch.
Vanitas vases The King and The Pagan Princess
Next to the ladies-in-waiting, there are two vases in the shape of a human skull. So the central part of the altar can be perceived as vanitas – an allegorical still life, in which the two expressive vases serve as a reminder of samsara – the rapid flow of human life and inevitability of death. Skuja Braden altar is a tribute to the spirit of the late mother, which guides and supports the artists in their way towards spiritual enlightenment and inner wisdom.
"Digital and virtual reality technologies offer a large creative and educative potential for expanding the language of culture and art, especially in these extraordinary times when our active communication has moved to virtual space. Museums specifically can be very instrumental in linking the modern technologies with the analogue world. This means artifacts currently on display or in the depository in the future may be able to reach a much wider audience, and specialists will be able to preserve art treasures in a new visual format" says Inese Baranovska, the Head of the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, adding that this project will serve as valuable documentary evidence of historical significance in the future.
The photo depicts the central part of Ilga's Altar from the exhibition Samsara at the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design.