Waking up statues at the Lyon Fine Arts Museum

Waking up statues at the Lyon Fine Arts Museum

July 15, 2015 by We Are Museums

It’s not something out of « Night at the Museum »: statues at the Lyon Fine Arts museum really are waking up again.

For the Mirage Festival, the institution teamed up with the digital arts company BK to create an interactive 3D mapping projection that makes it look as if the statues were animated. Arnaud Pottier, who’s been leading the project on the BK side, explains that the goal was to make the statues as lifelike as possible and to create natural movements such as eye-blinking or slight lip-moving.


The result is breath-taking. The Apollo and Medusa statues the video teasers reveal seem to be animated figures waking up in the dark after the visitors are gone. Perfectly adapted to the smooth marble stone, the video projection gives sheds a whole new light on both characters, fitting the curves of their faces and giving an incredible life-like impression.

GOLEM X MBA from BK I Digital art company on Vimeo.

As in Jean Paul Gaultier’s past itinerant exhibition, projecting faces onto still statues reinjects life and movement into the museum. In that case, the point of 3D mapping was to link the stylist’s personal history to his works of art and inject charisma and personal traits into the plastic dummies wearing his creations. In the Lyon Fine Arts Museum’s case, the projection brings back humanity to the statues and reminds the audience the myths behind them. Just as Gaultier’s was trying to do, the sculptures take on a life of their own and become something more than smooth, admirable works of art. The rich and powerful narratives that created the characters in the first place are revealed.