Ethereal Body (Æterlegeme), 1986, is an artwork by a Danish artist Claus Carstensen, and is a part of the contemporary collection at National Gallery of Denmark (Statens Museum for Kunst, SMK) in Copenhagen. The work is a composite consisting of soft polyurethane foam, grease, paint and urine on canvas. It was created to be a self-destructive work that slowly dissolves as a result of the impact of time, UV light and humidity. The work was subsequently classified as being of ‘unique cultural significance’ (Enestående National Betydning) for the Danish cultural heritage, and both the artist and the museum want to assure its preservation. Museum conservators have been treating the work, but a solution to the most worrisome problem, the degradation of the polyurethane foam, remains to be found. The foam has already changed color and deteriorated, and the museum and the author are prepared to replace all the foam at once. For this, they are in need of an accurate 3D model of the work, which they can refer to under reconstruction. Additionally, an acquired 3D model would assure the preservation of the work in a digital form.
In this project we will acquire a 3D model of Ethereal Body using a structured light scanner developed at DTU Compute. The project is given in the collaboration between DTU and National Gallery of Denmark, and scanning will take place at National Gallery of Denmark. The structured light scanner from DTU Compute will need re-fitting to scan the work which is 4 times 3 meters large, and a bigger number of sub-scans might be needed to cover the whole area. The post-processing of the scans will involve cleaning and stitching the obtained point clouds, reconstructing the surface mesh and refining the surface appearance. The format of the resulting scan will be agreed upon in the dialog with the National Gallery of Denmark. As the scan is to be used in the reconstruction process, it should allow for making accurate measures of the scanned geometry. Given the time, the project will also involve making scans available for online viewing.
The image shows Ethereal Body, as seen in 1986 and in 2012. Photo: Statens Museum for Kunst.
In collaboration withNational Gallery of Denmark