Welcome to the VCA, the Vault of Contemporary Art. This new type of gallery and digital architecture is here to complement the wondrous experience of viewing works of art in person. It’s about creating a wholly new way of enjoying exhibitions, from anywhere in the world, at any time.
Virtual presentations of art are an increasingly important platform that enable museums to share their collections and expertise, broadening opportunities for people to access and appreciate art. The VCA has taken this idea even further by creating an innovative virtual gallery that both utilises the placemaking skills of architects and addresses the desire of curators to offer richer content to viewers.
The VCA has been designed by Make Architects, using much of the same logic and sensibility that informs the design of the practice’s physical buildings. Communicating a sense of place and scale within the virtual environment was especially important. Lighting, and the ease of orientation within the galleries, proved to be particular challenges that required careful consideration by the architects and 3D artists on the VCA team. The result is a procession of distinct and memorable gallery spaces offering infinite possibilities for curators.
At VCA, we’ll be exhibiting contemporary art with a particular interest in showing work that relates to architecture, cities and other places both imaginary and real.
The VCA platform also enables the provision of additional layers of content to support exhibits including information about artists, their methods of working and their studios. This is something VCA will explore with the platform’s first solo exhibition focussing on Ben Johnson’s paintings and opening in collaboration with the V&A in Spring 2021.
The beauty of the virtual is its abundant flexibility. The VCA could be set in South Kensington, a tropical savanna or undersea. It could offer 50 hours of film footage embedded in each artwork, or make monumental sculptures float in the air.
The VCA celebrates the journey of each artwork – from flicker of imagination to fully realised piece – as it is critical to understanding how artists think and create. Visitors have instant access to layers of information about the artists, their studios, their areas of interest, and their working methods.
Hear from Make Architects, the V&A and the artist on designing the Vault of Contemporary Art (VCA) for its inaugural exhibition, Perfect Spaces: Paintings by Ben Johnson – ‘a time-travelling adventure through the history of architecture’.