Mar 16, 2017 | By Tess

3D printed artworks have been featured in galleries and museums all over the world, but this latest exhibition might be the most high profile event yet. In its Printing the World/Imprimer le Monde exhibition, Paris' famous Centre Pompidou is showcasing some of the most seminal 3D printed artworks to date. The exhibition, which opened on March 15, will be running until June 19, 2017.

The Centre Georges Pompidou is the home to many famous pieces of modern and contemporary art, including artworks by Matisse, Kandinsky, Picasso, Warhol, and many more. For the next few months, it will also be the home of over thirty pieces of 3D printed art. The exhibition, called Printing the World, is part of the museum's larger Mutations | Creations platform.

VESPERS, Mask 1, Series 2, 2016, Designed by Neri Oxman and the Mediated Matter Group for the "The New Ancient" Collection by STRATASYS. 3D printed on a Stratasys Full-color, Multi-material J750 3D Printer. Members of the Mediated Matter Group who have contributed to the project include: Christoph Bader, Dominik Kolb, Rachel Smith, Sunanda Sharma and Prof. Neri Oxman.

The exhibition will not only showcase artworks made using 3D printing technologies, but will interrogate issues surrounding the role of the artist, and reproducibility, which are difficult to ignore when 3D printing is involved. As the exhibition info blurb reads:

"From the designer object to architectural prototype, from the production shop to innovative research projects, this exhibition brings together a younger generation of artists, designers and architects who make use of 3D printing as an analytical and experimental tool. In its selection of some thirty "creators", Imprimer le monde [Printing the World] reveals the transformation of forms within a "digital materiality" that has given birth to a new typology of objects having 3D printing in common."

BC-AD, by Dov Ganchrow

As mentioned, the exhibition will feature works for over 30 artists, architects, and designers who have worked with the technology. Some of the most notable artists exhibited include American-Israeli architect Neri Oxman, whose VESPERS series of 3D printed death masks are included in the show. The mask series, which was debuted at the London Design Museum in 2016, was created as a part of Stratasys' "The New Ancient" art collection. Three masks from the series (which comprises of 15 masks in total), titled "Past," "Present," and "Future" are being exhibited at the Centre Pompidou. The mask designs were generated from data-driven processes and were 3D printed using Stratasys' Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D printer.

Dov Ganchrow's BC-AD is also part of the exhibition. Aptly named, BC-AD combines flint stone tools from the stone age with 3D printed modifications. Using Stratasys' high-resolution PolyJet 3D printing, Ganchrow was able to reimagine and redesign the ancient tools in a contemporary way, which in turn, begs us to think about how we use and make tools nowadays.

Sample from Stranger Visions, Portraits and Samples from New York, 2012, by Heather Dewey-Hagborg

Stratasys is tied to one other artist in the exhibition: Daniel Widrig, whose captivating Descendants series is on display at the Pompidou. Descendants explores the potential of superior artificial intelligence in the future, and how it might manifest in a physical form. The series comprises of a number of 3D printed humanoid figures, printed using multi-color, multi-material 3D printing, and which are made up of intricate digital compositions that reflect 3D scans of both male and female bodies.

Dessein Global, by Achraf Touloub

Paris-based Achraf Touloub's series Dessein Global, which consists of a number of basins with 3D printed reliefs in them, will also be featured. The reliefs themselves were designed by collating various images, and then simplifying the images into lines, which were then scanned and vectorized for 3D printing. The series explores the circulation of images in our contemporary digital environments through a physical medium. Dessein Global was 3D printed out of polyamide using SLS 3D printing technology.

Growth Titanium Table, by Mathias Bengtsson

Danish designer Mathias Bengtsson's Growth Titanium Table is one of our favorite pieces displayed at the Pompidou. Designed in 2013, but 3D printed in 2016, the piece was made using Bengtsson's "computational design" process, which uses digital simulation software to generate the natural growth of shapes. More specifically, to create the intricately designed table, Bengtsson developed an automated software program with 1,000 constraint parameters, which was able to simulate and interpret a model of bone growth through "the division and differentiation of cells." The biomimicry inspired piece was 3D printed out of titanium using an Electron Beam Melting (EBM) process.

Smart Dynamic Casting, by Gramazio Kohler Research

More of a process than an art object, Gramazio Kohler Research's Smart Dynamic Casting, A robotic gliding process for complex structures is a notable inclusion in the Printing the World exhibition. Developed by Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler, the founders of the first robotic manufacturing laboratory at ETH Zurich, Smart Dynamic Casting is an innovative process that allows for complex concrete structure to be built without individual coffering. From an environmental perspective, the process is significant as it could allow for structures to be built using significantly less concrete (the production of which accounts for five to eight percent of artificial CO2 emissions). From an architectural perspective, Smart Dynamic Casting could allow for virtually any type of structural design to be realized.

Diamond chair, by Nendo (Oki Sato)

One of our favorite Japanese design studios, Nendo, will also have a 3D printed piece on display at the French museum: Diamond chair. 3D printed using SLS technology, Diamond chair was first presented in 2008 in Milan, and consists of an exquisite structure inspired by the atomic structure of diamonds, the earth's hardest natural material. Made from nylon powder, the chair is not only incredibly strong, but also extremely light. It is reportedly one of the first chairs made using a rapid prototyping process. Tokyo-based Nendo was founded by Canadian-born designer Oki Sato.

Other pieces include Stranger Visions, Portraits and Samples from New York, 2012, by Heather Dewey-Hagborg, which is a series of 3D printed faces that were digitally generated based off of genetic material found on the streets of New York; Grotto II, a large-scale and impeccably intricate 3D printed sculpture made out of silica sands and binder by Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger as part of their "Digital Grotesque" project; and many more.

Grotto II, by Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger

The exhibition also traces the beginnings of 3D printing in art back to the 19th century, to François Willème's photo-sculpture, an early form of 3D imaging, and follows the technological influence on art up to the present, where professional designers and architects, as well as artists seem to be increasingly embracing and challenging the growing technology.

The Printing the World exhibition is curated by Marie-Ange Brayer and Olivier Zeitoun.



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