Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Work in Progress

For the first time in its 143-year history, the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm is undergoing a renovation. The idea is to restore the building to its original grandeur while adapting it to meet modern needs.

Much of the work has to do with bringing light into each room by restoring windows that have been covered up over the years. Under the plan, the different environments in each room, including the way sunlight is shown and the outside views, will create a variety of experiences.

While under renovation, these rooms will still be in use in a clever and creative exhibition called, a
"Work in Progress: The Museum in a New Light." The first installment of this project showcases the museum’s vast collections of sculptures, including works that have been in storage. They are shown in two large rooms that are being restored. In one room sculptures are peering among columns and newly painted circular ceilings in a room that is otherwise bare (pictured below). In another room sculptured heads are placed on bare scaffolding in a haphazard way, pointing to what the museum calls “a period renovation and refurbishment, aiming to introduce new ways of presenting the collections.”

Off to the side in a shipping container is Triton by Dutch sculptor Adriaen de Vries (pictured above). The bronze statue of a nude figure is twisting round as he sits on a ring of fish. The man's head is turned to the right and is slightly raised as he blows on a horn-shaped shell held in his right hand. The life-sized statue is perched on a skid and is partially boxed in with protective wooden boards. Foam wrapping is around its abdomen. The sculpture and packaging is covered on three sides by a plastic sheet, which blocks all outside light. Only a small spotlight from above is shown on the statue, another way of using light. The card explains that the work spends much of its time traveling to different museums around the world. It is part of an outside fountain that is in museum storage.

The exhibit will change, move and develop as renovations continue.

Nationalmuseum, Södra Blasieholmshamnen, Stockholm

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