Klimt’s Magic Garden

Klimt's Magic GardenImage courtesy of MAK Museum

KLIMT’S MAGIC GARDEN
A Virtual Reality Experience by Frederick Baker
Exhibition Venue MAK FORUM

With KLIMT’S MAGIC GARDEN: A Virtual Reality Experience by Frederick Baker, the MAK is launching an innovative fantastic virtual exhibition experiment to mark the 100th anniversary of Gustav Klimt’s death (6 February 2018). Using high-resolution digital photography, renowned filmmaker Frederick Baker has created a new work by restaging Klimt’s nine-part cartoons for the mosaic frieze in the Stoclet House dining room in Brussels (1910/1911). Baker’s new work opens up new perspectives on one of the MAK collection’s outstanding exhibits. He takes the audience into Klimt’s work, and then out, through the other side, into a realm of especially designed symbolic spaces.  

Klimt's Magic GardenImage courtesy of MAK Museum

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In KLIMT’S MAGIC GARDEN – visitors wear an HTC virtual reality headset, to delve into a virtual garden landscape that they can explore at will. The experience celebrates Klimt’s designs by reconstituting them into a mountain landscape of moving clouds and light that is inspired by the Austrian Lake District (Salzkammergut), where Klimt spent his summers and drew much of his inspiration. In the MAK FORUM, which is especially equipped for experimental exhibition and mediation formats, visitors can either explore the interactive 3-D landscape themselves or else opt to watch the “Director’s Cut”, in which Frederick Baker has recorded his own individual journey through KLIMT’S MAGIC GARDEN. Each headset’s virtual reality experience is transmitted onto synchronized screens for the enjoyment of other exhibition visitors.

Klimt's Magic GardenImage courtesy of MAK Museum

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Working with the 3D Graphic artist Markus Cermak at Leiss Postproduction in ViennaFrederick Baker’s vision is to turn Gustav Klimt’s 2-D designs into totally new symbolic spaces and images that create an innovative interplay of two- and three dimensionality. The multilayered structure of this virtual project evokes associations with a labyrinth. Baker has designed the user’s journey that metaphorically progresses like Klimt’s work from Expectation to Fulfillment, as a form of expanded cinema with a soundtrack by George Taylor. KLIMT’S MAGIC GARDEN is a contemporary reworking of the concept of the “total work of art”, which according to the philosopher Odo Marquard involves “eradicating the boundary between aesthetic construct and reality”.

Klimt's Magic GardenImage courtesy of MAK Museum

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In the MAK collection:
Klimt’s cartoons for the frieze in the Stoclet House. The mosaic frieze in the dining room of the Stoclet House is counted among the most outstanding achievements in art around 1900 as well as among Gustav Klimt’s major works. The cartoons, one of the most important items in the MAK collection, are also on exhibition throughout the Vienna Modernism Year 2018 as the centerpiece of the MAK Permanent Collection Vienna 1900. The Stoclet House was commissioned from Josef Hoffmann by industrial magnate Adolphe Stoclet in 1905 and furnished by the former as a total work of art with the collaboration of many members of the Wiener Werkstätte. Klimt’s cartoons for the frieze in the dining room, each measuring roughly one by two meters, were created by applying  gold and platinum leaf to tracing paper and stronger drafting paper, blending delicately into the décor of this town house.

Klimt's Magic GardenImage courtesy of MAK Museum

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Frederick Baker
The filmmaker and digital artist Frederick Baker has produced over 50 films for cinema, the BBC, and ARTE. The founder of the Filmbäckerei production company is especially inspired by cultural heritage artifacts. In 2016 he led the Virtual Reality project Pitoti Prometheus (2016 with Marcel Karnapke) that used 3-D prehistoric rock art to create a version of Goethe’s Prometheus. Baker’s work as a senior digital humanities researcher at Cambridge University, has been awarded the EU’s Europa Nostra Prize (2016), the 3D Guild Award in the category “3D Virtual Reality Animated Film” (2016) and the “Best VR documentary” award at the European VR days in Amsterdam (2018). His VR work was also on display at the Ars Electronica 2017. With KLIMT’S MAGIC GARDEN, the MAK continues its intensive exploration of Digital Modernity, once more creating a relationship between past and present. In cooperation with 3D graphic artist Markus Cermak, sound designer and composer George Taylor, dramaturge Sandra Fasolt, and Christian Leiss Postproduction GmbH, Frederick Baker has succeeded in synergizing artistic creativity and technological innovation.

Klimt's Magic GardenImage courtesy of MAK Museum

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EXTENDED TO 7 October 2018: KLIMT’S MAGIC GARDEN
In response to great public demand, the MAK is extending KLIMT’S MAGIC GARDEN: A Virtual Reality Experience by Frederick Baker to 7 October 2018. At the same time, the exhibition experiment is being augmented by additional headsets to allow several visitors at a time to journey through this fantastic virtual world and it is being relocated. As of 17 April 2018, KLIMT’S MAGIC GARDEN will no longer be located in the MAK FORUM but in the MAK Permanent Collection Contemporary Art. It is now in direct proximity to the original cartoons by Gustav Klimt for the mosaic frieze in the Stoclet House dining room in Brussels (1910/1911), which are on display in the MAK Permanent Collection Vienna 1900.

Klimt's Magic GardenImage courtesy of MAK Museum

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KLIMT’S MAGIC GARDEN: A Virtual Reality Experience by Frederick Baker was launched by the MAK on the 100th anniversary of Gustav Klimt’s death (6 February 2018). Using high-resolution photography, renowned filmmaker Frederick Baker re-stages Klimt’s nine-part designs for the mosaic frieze in the Stoclet House dining room, thus opening up new perspectives on one of the MAK collection’s outstanding exhibits. Klimt’s unparalleled work is merged with a landscape, inspired by his regular visits to the Attersee, to create an immersive virtual setting which visitors can explore using a virtual reality headset. In cooperation with 3D graphic artist Marcus Cermak, sound designer and composer George Taylor, dramaturge Sandra Fasolt, and Christian Leiss Postproduction GmbH, Frederick Baker has succeeded in synergizing artistic creativity and technological innovation.

A project in cooperation with Frederick Baker and Christian Leiss GmbH

MAK, Stubenring 5, 1010 Vienna
Exhibition Dates 7 February – 22 April 2018 (EXTENDED TO 7 October 2018)
Opening Hours Tue 10 a.m.–10 p.m., Wed–Sun 10 a.m.–6 p.m.

more. www.mak.at

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