Feb 8, 2017 | By Benedict

British artist Anya Gallacio is using a clay 3D printer for her latest work, Beautiful Minds. The installation at Thomas Dane Gallery in London uses the giant 3D printer to deposit wet clay in hexagonal patterns that will eventually resemble a scale model of Devil’s Tower, a mountain in Wyoming.

Anya Gallacio, born in the Scottish town of Paisley, is perhaps best known for her artworks that utilize organic materials—fruit, trees, flowers, ice, and sugar, are just a few substances that have featured prominently in her installations. It is therefore unsurprising that the 2003 Turner Prize nominee’s latest work finds her working with clay, an abundant fine-grained earth that can be used as a building material. What is perhaps more surprising, however, is the tool chosen by Gallacio to manipulate the clay.

For Beautiful Minds, the new installation currently on display at Thomas Dane Gallery in London, Gallacio has set up a giant clay 3D printer to deposit wet clay in semi-precise hexagonal patterns. The huge 3D printer, unlike typical additive manufacturing machines, consists of a computer-controlled hose suspended from a ceiling-spanning metal gantry. It will be used to print a scale model of Devil’s Tower, a mountain in Wyoming that will be recognizable to many: the unusually shaped summit, a sacred Native American site, played an important role in Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Anya Gallacio's Beautiful Minds (2015) consists of a giant 3D printer building a clay mountain

The 3D printer at the center of Beautiful Minds was built by the Gallacio in collaboration with a group of her recent graduates from UC San Diego, where the artist works as a professor. The 3D printer, whose clay deposition process mimics the fluid layering of technology, asks questions of the observer: who is reponsible for the 3D printed mountain? Gallacio? The computer? The relatively unpredictable 3D printer? The clay itself?

Gallacio’s recent move towards technologically informed art has been attributed to her relocation to California, where technology—3D printing included—is at the forefront of local culture. The artist recently used a laser cutter for another work, a stainless steel tree, which was commissioned by commissioned by the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester, UK. Later this year Gallaccio will install a CNC-machined tree stump sculpture at the Contemporary Austin in Texas, designed using a 3D scan of a real tree in California.

Devil’s Tower, the mountain depicted in Beautiful Minds, features prominently in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Beautiful Minds is on display at Thomas Dane Gallery until March 25, 2017.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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