Connected to its former home on the region Jake has his Fancy Decor business, the new Vordun Gallery and Museum now boasts two floors, offering highly flexible display space with – at present – nine gallery halls (although some look like they could either be expanded or split, depending on the needs of individual displays).
As I discussed exactly two years ago just after The Vordun originally opened (see: The Vordun: a new art experience in Second Life), one of the attractions with this gallery is the care with which Jake and his team have striven to make a visit to The Vordun something of a an experience that mirrors a visit to a physical world gallery or museum – and this is certainly continues with the gallery’s new location.
I wanted to expand the non gallery areas. The lobby in the old build was a small cube. I think the newer big lobby with café, bathrooms, elevator, coat check etc, gives it a more real-life feel. Plus adding the second floor adds a ton of new space for more exhibits!
– Jake Vordun on expanding the Vordun Gallery and Museum
The realism element was particularly reflected in the initial exhibit at the Gallery, European Masters, 300 Years of Painting, offering as it did a scripted audio tour of the pieces on display. In the intervening years, European Masters has become something of a permanent fixture at the gallery, and I’m pleased to say this is still the case following the move as it continues to occupy the main ground floor hall.
The ground floor also sees three other exhibitions that were open at the time of the move also continue. Two of these, Pictures of the Floating World and Proverbs of the Low Countries, I wrote about in June 2017 (see: Floating worlds and Dutch proverbs in Second Life). Both of these are again exhibitions designed to not only reveal the art to visitors, but actively engage the visitor with the art. Sincerely Yours / Postcrossing, meanwhile, brings to life the fascinating world of postcrossing.com, which invites people to sign-up and send a postcard to a total stranger in another part of the world, thus joining a chain of sharing that has seen some 40 million postcards exchanged at the rate of 187 being sent per hour!
The rear hall on the ground floor is home to one of the new exhibitions at the gallery: Claude: Monet Impressions, a celebration of one of the founders – and possibly the greatest exponent – of French impressionism Claude Monet. With something of a focus on some of Monet’s more famous paintings – notably those of his gardens at Giverny – this is at the same time a varied exhibition, featuring some of his portrait work and touching on the man and his life as well. All of which makes for an excellent introduction to Monet for those unfamiliar with his work.
The upper floor of the gallery holds the promise of the return of A Night to Remember, commemorating the loss of the RMS Titanic. This interactive installation had its début in Second Life at the Vordun as a part of the gallery’s original opening. It then travelled to the LEA where it was expanded somewhat (see: A Night to Remember in Second Life). Thus, the forthcoming its re-opening at The Vordun will be something of a coming home.
Also on the upper floor The Vordun offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves into the life and work of the great Dutch master, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn – but form an unusual angle. Best remembered as painter, Rembrandt was also a master draughtsman and printmaker, being a pioneer in the world of etching. It is this aspect of his art – for which he was perhaps most famous during his lifetime – that is celebrated here. Be sure to touch the images to gain deeper insight into each of them.
Alongside Rembrandt is another interactive, experience-driven exhibition, Musica Antiqua, a most engaging journey into music from the middle-ages to the Baroque period (the era of Bach, Vivaldi, Albinoni, Handel, Percell, Pachelbel and more). It features models of various instruments paints and – most immersely – the music of the instruments themselves through audio and video.
As with some of the other exhibitions at The Vordun, this is a HUD-driven exhibition (the HUD should auto-attach on entering the exhibition space, providing you have accepted the gallery’s experience. If you haven’t, you’ll again be asked to do so). Audio can be heard by pressing the number on the HUD corresponding to the instrument / painting you are viewing. Three additional button (indicated by the number with the video icons alongside them) will open a playback panel in your viewer, but note that a) you may have to click the panel to engage video playback; and b) playback is dependent upon HTML / Flash support in your viewer – an nearby chat link will help for those experiencing issues, and depending on their view of the security of Flash.
Across the hall from Musica Antiqua and Rembrandt is another unusual exhibition of physical world art – one perhaps at times overlooked outside of stately homes in Europe: that of tapestry. Threads of Gold celebrates this art through both wall hangings (perhaps how we most often think of tapestry) and upholstery embroidery – the latter again through the use of models.
The Vordun has cut a path of its own in terms of Second Life galleries, focusing as it does on physical world art. I personally find this one of the great attractions with the gallery; by doing so, it can bring the world’s art and artists to an audience who might otherwise never have the chance to experience the personal delight of what is to all intents and purposes a “first-hand” view of the art that the printed page can never really match.
That said, and allowing for the lean towards making The Vordun as close as possible to the feeling of visiting a “real” gallery, I did again find myself wishing in places that displays that do not provide auto-zooming used larger versions of the images they present (overall quality of the original image allowing, of course). This would potentially make them easier to appreciate by those less skilled in camera manipulation or who – more particularly – might suffer from poor vision.
Emphasising physical world art is something Jake would like to increase, as he informed me during a visit. “I’d love to have some Second Life artists showcase their physical world art.” There is nothing planned for this as yet, Jake has been focused on getting the gallery moved and the new exhibitions opened. However, we did discuss a few names, and SL artists who are not averse to displaying their art in-world might want to contact Jake directly to discuss their work and possible opportunities.
In the meantime, congratulations to Jake and his team for the gallery’s expansion and four new and very engaging exhibitions.
- The Vordun Gallery and Museum (Vordun, rated Moderate)