Apr 22, 2017 | By Julia

Renowned UK artist Mat Collishaw is broadening his horizons with a newly exhibited 3D printed zoetrope. “The Centrifugal Soul” is a gargantuan piece covered in dozens of 3D printed birds and flowers, currently on display at Blain|Southern in London. Cut into 18 frames and spinning at 60 rotations per minute, the one-second loop appears to come magically to life under the strobe lights, complete with birds flapping their wings and flowers blooming.

Though Collishaw is best known for his contributions to the Young British Art (YBA) scene of the 1980s – his breakthrough piece “Bullet Hole” famously appeared in Damien Hirst’s seminal Freeze exhibit in 1988 – the UK artist has been dabbling with new technologies in recent years. Collishaw created his first 3D printed zoetrope back in 2015: a stunning recreation of Rubens’ famous painting “Massacre of the Innocents.”

Now, the artist has continued creating by way of additive manufacturing, despite being new to the technology. “I’m not really a tech person at all,” Collishaw says. “I’m fumbling my way through in the dark, so I need a lot of advice.”

Collishaw admits to some distrust of 3D printing and other new technologies, resulting in some interesting tensions in his artwork. “I like the fact that I’m not just making a protest with a charcoal drawing,” he explains. “It’s good to use a medium I’m suspicious of.”

Moreover, Collishaw acknowledges there are some artistic advantages afforded by 3D printing. "The only way of getting that animation millimetre-accurate is to 3D print it," he says of the illusion of movement in “The Centrifugal Soul.”

Millimetre-accuracy isn’t an understatement. When spinning under the meticulously timed strobe lights, Collishaw’s 3D printed zoetrope blurs fact and fiction, giving the impression of real flora and fauna inhabiting an ornate ecosystem.

Beyond dazzling spectators, Collishaw hopes his new work will make people think critically about the role of technology in our lives. New developments like 3D printing and VR are exciting, he says, but where is this digital revolution taking us?

Next up for the UK artist is a VR recreation of one of the world’s first photography exhibitions, shown by William Fox Talbot in 1839. Collishaw’s “Thresholds” installation will recreate Talbot’s original exhibition in extreme detail, and will debut on May 18 at Somerset House, London, as part of Photo London.

Until then, you can still see “The Centrifugal Soul” at London’s Blain|Southern, on through August 20.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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