For my first two weeks I have chosen to do the 3D project, ‘3D Transformation,’ which focuses on the ‘ready-made’ casting.
After doing some research, I have found that the term ‘readymade’ was first used by the French artist Marcel Duchamp to describe his work made from manufactured objects. Since then, other pieces by different artists using a similar concept have also been classified in this way. Duchamp’s most famous readymade, ‘Fountain,’ is a men’s urinal signed with a false name and laid on its back, as can be seen below.
This piece has been very controversial, with many claiming that it isn’t ‘art.’ However others argue that whether the artist made it or not isn’t important – it’s the fact that the artist chose the object himself and manipulated it, changing its function and removing its usefulness, which makes it art.
This starting point has interested me as I think that it is interesting to change the function of an object. Casting can allow a widely recognised object to be cast into a different material, thus changing its practicality. This can therefore be used to convey a message or meaning, and I would like to experiment with this, for example an object can be made more permanent, e.g. by making it out of pewter, or alternately it can be made more fragile and easier to deteriorate, e.g. by using something that could melt such as ice or wax.
Casting an object into a different medium reminded me of the work of Giuseppe Penone and his pieces made using lost-wax casting. For example, in the piece below, he used the bark of the original tree to create its impression. In creating the sculpture, the tree was destroyed. However, it now lives through this piece of art and has been made more permanent, frozen in time and no longer able to grow or change.
Penone has an interesting way of combining the idea of nature with the human form, such as through ‘Trattenere 6, 8, 12 anni di crescita’ in which he has created bronze castings his hand and lower arm clasping the trunks of trees. His works seem to highlight our connection with nature through the similarities of the textured surfaces of bark and skin which he achieves through his media.
After looking at his work, I am considering casting natural objects such as pieces of branch in order to portray a message about nature and our interaction with our surroundings. Casting a branch would be ideal for a ready-made artwork with a focus on our impact on the environment.
Other artists which I have looked at include Mark Jenkins, who uses sellotape to cast his human figures and puts them on the streets, often after decorating them as real people, in order to witness the reaction by passers by, e.g. when they have been made to do something unusual such as walk into walls, lie on the streets or stand in bins.
I find these pieces really interesting as they are entertaining and allow people to react to his art and question what is happening, causing a disruption in the normal repetitive nature of everyday life.
I like the idea of using the human form as a ready-made, as it is relatable and can be manipulated in many different ways to achieve different effects and messages, e.g. a person could be cast into food to show the harmful impact of unhealthy diets, etc.
Following the idea of natural forms, I also looked at artist Bruno Romanelli who uses the technique of lost-wax glass casting in his pieces. I am intrigued by his art as I like the effect of the glass and reflections which he achieves and also the incredible amount of detail which this medium allows.
The way in which the work is presented, with shadows cast by a bright light, is visually interesting, and I love the strength which the hand above is given, seeming to be crushing the stand which it is on. The contrast between the pale glass and darker slab beneath makes the human body seem more heroic and powerful.
These artists have interested me in the many possibilities of casting, and I would like to try some of their techniques in my in order to portray a message. I love the idea of using natural forms, but could also try casting other things such as man-made objects which the ready-made is well known for.