In collaboration with Studio Jester Blank, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin has created its first ever 3D tour of an exhibition. This novel, immersive 3D exhibition is based on Near Life: The Gipsformerei – 200 Years of Casting Plaster, which was held at the James-Simon-Galerie and closed in March 2020.
Visitors can move around the virtual exhibition space freely and explore the exhibition and its extraordinary objects as if they were really there. Additionally, 20 of the exhibits can be viewed in extra high-resolution 3D renderings.
The exhibition Near Life: The Gipsformerei – 200 Years of Casting Plaster was digitised with the help of 3D laser scanning and photogrammetry technology. Through the three-dimensional imaging of the roughly 650-square-metre special exhibition space in the James-Simon-Galerie, which was rendered from some 3,000 different perspective points, the more than 200 exhibits can be viewed from all sides. The immersive 3D tour is accompanied by texts providing contextual information about the objects.
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The extra high-resolution renderings of the exhibits include the shellacked plaster models of life-size sculptures from the collection of the Gipsformerei, such as the Laocoön and Princess Groups, or a nearly three-metre-long crocodile, as well as groups of objects on the theme of death masks or the sensitive casts from colonial contexts. There are also a number of contemporary artworks that can be explored up close, by artists such as Asta Gröting, George Segal and Allan McCollum. When viewing these individual renderings, the virtual visitors are accompanied by an audio-guide that has been produced especially for the exhibition – a multi-vocal sound collage that provides a range of perspectives on the themes.
Master model, 1892
290 x 95 x 32 cm
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gipsformerei, R-06580
This plaster crocodile also belongs to the collection of the Berlin Gipsformerei. It was cast directly from the deceased animal. The 3D rendering shows the animal’s armoured skin in the most exquisite detail. And if you dare, you can take a look into the jaws of this impressive reptile.
Plaster, 181 x 66 x 77 cm
Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Skulpturensammlung, 1738 (Abg.-ZV 1885)
This cast is of a work by the famous sculptor Auguste Rodin. It is at once a cast of an original and an artwork in its own right. From up close, you can make out not only the liveliness and natural air of its young subject, but also numerous casting seams.
Master model, 1844
Plaster, shellacked, 242 x 184 x 100 cm
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gipsformerei, R-00263
(Original: 1st century BCE, Vatican Museums, Rome)
This historical model of the famous Laocoön Group exhibits a unique patina. The surface is stained with deeply engrained soot. In the 3D rendering, you can even view this work – which in the exhibition space sits atop a tall plinth – from above.
Epoxy resin, 24 carat gold, 206 x 216 x 50 cm
Galerie carlier | gebauer, Berlin, AG/2012/scu/10400
This golden piece of earth is also a cast. If you look at this work by Asta Gröting from a worm’s-eye view, you can imagine the ploughed soil in Oderbruch that forms the basis for this artwork.
For technical reasons, it was not possible to produce high-resolution renderings of all the exhibits. You can find photos and explanatory texts for all the works in the exhibition catalogue.
3D rendering, virtual exhibition, post-production: Studio Jester Blank (Jens Blank, Philipp Jester)
Curator, texts and concept: Veronika Tocha
Audio-guide: Martin Baer (script and direction), Oliver Brod (audio and sound-design)
Translation of object texts: Otmar Binder; proofreading: Laura Preston
Exhibition design: Schroeder Rauch (Mira Schröder, Nicolas Rauch)