Painting with Water

John Hill
5. September 2018
Photo: Pēteris Vīksna

Matter to Matter, an interactive installation by designer Arthur Analts that invites visitors to draw on a wall covered with condensation, is a highlight of Latvia's contribution to the 2018 London Design Biennale, taking place at Somerset House until 23 September.

This year's London Biennale —its second — coincides with the centenary of Latvia, which declared its independence in November 1918, when it broke from Russia after World War I. LV100, as the centenary has been branded, is being celebrated in Latvia and internationally with a variety of programs. For London, the Latvian National Museum of Art (LNMA) selected Arthur Analts from Variant Studio for the country's representation.

​Analts's Matter to Matter installation is made up of three parts: a bench of solid birch, a floor of Latvian bark, and a wall covered in green glaze. The last, the surface upon which visitors "write," was inspired by the designer's native Riga, whose proximity to the Baltic Sea and surrounding forests create a constant humidity and conditions ripe for condensation.

According to LNMA, the simple installation is enabled by "a refined technological solution behind the ... large glazed surface." The designer describes the idea behind Matter to Matter: "With the rapid development of modern technologies and cities, it is important to be aware of our interaction with and impact on the natural environment, which is essential to Latvian culture."

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