Matter to Matter – Arthur Analts’ interactive installation

  • 2018-10-18
  • LNMA/TBT Staff

Only 11 days – from 17 to 28 October 2018 – Arthur Analts’ interactive installation Matter to Matter which represented Latvia at the London Design Biennale 2018 and won the Best Design Medal, will be on view at the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Riga (Skārņu iela 10).


The 2nd London Design Biennale (LDB) with the theme Emotional States was opened for the visitors at the Somerset House from the 4th till the 23rd of September 2018. Forty countries from five continents took part with their creative and provocative proposals demonstrating how design can influence and direct our emotions, challenge, delight, surprise, and educate.

For the first time Latvia was a participant in this prestigious international design festival with a project produced by the Latvian National Museum of Art (LNMA) and its department the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design (MDAD) – the interactive installation Matter to Matter by artist Arthur Analts and interdisciplinary design enterprise Variant Studio. This participation was part of Latvian Centenary Programme with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, Investment and Development Agency of Latvia, Embassy of the Republic of Latvia to the United Kingdom and Rietumu Bank Charity Fund.

London Design Biennale awards four medals to the best contributions from the participating countries, cities and territories. The first three medals of LDB 2018 being selected by the Biennale’s International Jury. Egypt has won the overall Medal, having submitted the “most outstanding overall contribution”. The Emotional States Medal was awarded to the United States for presenting “the most inspiring interpretation of the 2018 theme”, while Latvia won the Best Design Medal for “the most exceptional design”. The final winner, voted for by visitors, has earned the Public Medal.

The 2018 medals have been designed by East London-based jewellery studio Shimell and Madden and inspired by geometric shapes. They are made of metal, which has been manipulated to create four, warped circular shapes, which are each “subtly different” to represent the “intricate factors that distinguish us and our emotions,” say the Biennale organisers. Each medal also has a mirrored surface, to reference the idea of facial expressions and emotion once again.


The Matter to Matter installation represents Latvia’s relationship to its natural environment using such materials as wood and water. It was inspired by Arthur Analts’ native city of Riga. Due to its proximity to the Baltic Sea, Riga has its own unique climate, with a constant humidity that often leads to condensation.

In Matter to Matter, Arthur Analts recreates the transition from gas to liquid using a large green-glazed glass surface. The installation invites visitors to leave their own message or print and, after a couple of minutes, the temporal marks naturally disappear. Through this process Analts asks us to consider the power of nature and highlights the role of designers and architects as the creators of a responsible, sustainable future where nature and its inhabitants coexist. It is a statement about culture and transience, of secret messages, and the ways in which nature can cover over human traces.


The installation is serene, meditative even. It does not shout at you but quietly encourages to take part. The apparent simplicity of the design conceals a sophisticated technological solution behind the main feature.


Within the meditative space a large bench of Latvian wood invites contemplation of the continuous glass wall and, on closer inspection, the bench reveals itself as a visual tool to educate visitors about Latvia’s rich forests. The Statistic Bench is made from 13 diffrent species of wood grown in Latvia, according to their prevalence.


All elements of the installation were developed and manufactured by a multidisciplinary team in Latvia, a country increasingly recognised for its ability to harness innovation.


As part of the exhibition, one showcase is dedicated to the London Design Biennale 2018 Best Design Medal which has travelled to Latvia.


This express exhibition at the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design will be open Tuesday through Sunday from 12.00 to 18.00, Wednesday from 12.00 to 20.00, closed on Monday. All visitors receive special admission fee 1,50 EUR.